11 Aug 2017

H.P. Lovecraft: "I-II"

Highly overlooked band from one of the most exciting eras in music
It was far from horrific or esoteric when H.P. Lovecraft, the American rock band named after the famed weird horror author of the same name, rode the wave of psychedelia in the late 1960s in the US. Created partly by folk singer George Edwards, H.P. Lovecraft's only two true albums (a few others were later released under Lovecraft and Love Craft without Edwards) feels a bit more backwards-reaching than similar contemporary bands.

Both albums from the band has that feel of half-forgotten gems from the psychedelic era where most was left in a fog of drugs, and similar to the author's works their songwriting bears a dreamy disposition that reaches far into a bright, sunlit sky. Far from nihilistic, their tunes are instead vividly painted with optimism and positivity, though some tracks go further on druggy tangents.

"...their almost barbershop-like vocalisations could be bent into many shapes and forms."

Released back to back in 1967 and 1969, the group prove twice that their almost barbershop-like vocalisations could be bent into many shapes and forms. The upbeat Wayfaring Stranger, It's About Time and That's the Bag I'm In, or the the trippy, laid back I've Been Wrong Before and The White Ship, or even the freakout Nothing's Boy, all portray different styles of their inherent sound.

Where the first album, I, was highly folk-inspired, the follow-up II was perhaps more of its time, with several sombre tunes like Blue Jack of Diamonds and more trippy tracks in a more jagged, straightforward style. H.P. Lovecraft's style was highly reliant on the many instrumentations of Dave Michaels' classical training which lend them the varied musical style that they sort-of became known for.

Over the years many have fallen in love with their off-kilter bass lines, weird instrumentation, four-octave voicings and - of course - their relative obscurity. The group's highly varied approach gave them an edge among contemporaries, even if none of their tracks have made it to become classics. To this day the compilation featuring these two albums is widely available on CD, and the albums aren't hard to get to on vinyl either. For any fan of 60s rock, folk and psychedelia, this is a must-have.


Released in 1967 and 1969 by Philips Records


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