Shambaholic And Other Love Songs
Shambaholic is not the new Donovan’s Brain album. The fact that it is finally being released 20 years to the day after it was completed is purely coincidental. Shambaholic might have been the first Brain album, if the band were not so prolific. In the end the album was broken up into smaller pieces and most of it appeared on various Donovan’s Brain releases.
Shambaholic is a break up album. It is a psych rock opera about the collapse of a long-term relationship retold with guitar and mellotron. It’s difficult to determine if this is a true story as much of it takes place in a dream world. Other songs were influenced by sleep deprivation. Shambaholic is the sound of the floor disappearing from under your feet and the free fall down that rabbit hole. As the real world disappears, gravity is no longer a dependable force. Time and space become fuzzy and indistinct.
The album opens with three straight forward rockers. The jangle of Dandelions Are Back barely disguises the seething anger. A beer fueled road trip down I-94 with the Young Fresh Fellows is clearly a full case of denial. Harsh reality sets in by the third song, Hit Me In The Face. Several of the musical influences are displayed in an equal measure of Flamin’ Groovies, Modern Lovers and Johnny Thunders in the first movement.
The rush to the collapse begins when the antagonist of the story is revealed in Pollyanna Disillusioned. Make A Noise Quietly opens the doors to the dreamtime world, which is the setting for the rest of the album. Scared to sleep and afraid to wake leaves very few options.
Holly Green is the perfect dream date, but proves to be less desirable in the cold light of day. It is easy to find her by the trail of broken men left in her wake. The erotic encounter at Kew Gardens seems to go much better until Alice falls off her bicycle. A prog rock epic is distilled down to a two minute thirty second miniature.
Sleep Deep has its verses restored to their original length. The Light Proof Visions EP version was edited due to the time restrictions of the format. Everything I Know Is Wrong continues the observations about the politics of the late 80s and early 90s. The first glimmers of hope can be found here, but ultimately the damage has been done. The previously unreleased title track finds the narrator back at square one, doomed to relive this life over and over.
The four bonus tracks first appeared on the cassette releases Punch In Punch Up Punch Out and Butterfly Wheel.
Shambaholic and the bonus tracks have been freshened up and remixed for this release. This limited edition archive release will only be available from the Career Records shop.
Ron Sanchez, Bobby Sutliff (Windbreakers), Ric Parnell (Spinal Tap), Scott Sutherland (Model Rockets), Tom Stevens (Long Ryders) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) are recording a new Donovan’s Brain album which should appear in October 2015.
In the month of November you can hear the whole album streaming at the
Green Monkey Records site.