Jeremy & The Lemon Clocks: Relaunching the Interstellar Overdrive




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Although Tommy James & The Shondells only had one UK hit – the goodtime ‘Mony Mony’, they were 1960s US chart regulars, with the original and superior ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, plus the reverberating psychedelic epic ‘Crimson And Clover’. The original Tommy James hit was a single’s edit of a longer album track. Although – as in the case of the Doors ‘Light My Fire’ or Free’s ‘Alright Now’, there’s a suggestion that maybe the tighter singles edit has the edge? … yet here ‘Crimson And Clover’ is replicated and extended out to a full epic 17:17-minutes. Alongside the Lemon Pipers’ ‘Green Tambourine’ drawn out to a full 18:07. If the original singles ended just as you were getting inundated into their trippiness, leaving you hungry for more, these versions extend them to the infinity you always wanted, throwing in excoriating guitar improvisations, related motifs, sitar drones, storm effects and birdsong. This is Jeremy playing his favourites, not the serious heaviness of Grateful Dead, Cream or the Mothers of Invention, but the more Pop-Psych end of the Acyd Tribe where you could also find Count Five or the Electric Prunes.

The album is titled Side By Side, because two mock-vinyl CDs sit inside one lavishly ornate sleeve. Michigan-based Jeremy Morris (who runs JAM records in the USA) forms the common denominator, with the full Lemon Clocks – known for their breathy Paisley Underground weirdness, present only as part-collaborators. A multinational multi-instrumentalist collective of musicians including Stefan Johansson (of The Proper Electronic Company) and Todd Borsch (of the Ringles) from Sweden and Spain, the Lemon Clocks advocate The Opening of Minds. While, if I even hinted at how many albums Jeremy Morris has released, under a spread of pseudonyms and band names, you’d likely not believe me. And if ‘Spirit In The Sky’ has Jesus-freak aspects that always stopped you from fully embracing Norman Greenbaum, this 24:17 full-blitz revision may just turn your head around – and let’s leave Doctor & The Medics out of this, OK? Even the one original track – ‘Revolution no.7’, is a gob-smacking cut-up collage assemblage of sequences, leaving my mind boggled as never before. Feel the thrill-burn!

The second CD – at 1hr 16-minutes, is one minute shorter than its companion disc, but runs to fourteen generous tracks, and colour floods like fantasy through each one. It opens with the cutting broken-glass Kinks-Who guitar riff of Jeff Lynne’s ‘Do Ya’, a UK B-side by the Move that was flipped and became their only US Hot Hundred hit, later rescued by ELO for whom it became an even bigger hit. Jeremy’s cover has a slightly murkier mix and closes with a reverse-tapes fade. Then there are four Beatles’ covers, two from George Harrison. Relegated to the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album, ‘It’s All Too Much’ with its immense deluging sheets of sound, had already been majestically covered by Steve Hillage. Jeremy does an accurate replication clear down to George’s quoting lines from the Mersey’s ‘Sorrow’ (later one of David Bowie’s Pin-Ups). Then George’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ is treated with waves of controlled rippling feedback. And there are two John Lennon songs. It’s a courageous band indeed who tackles ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, and while they extend it to 5:29-minutes there’s a cop-out ‘surrender to the lord’ substitution for the original Revolver track’s ‘surrender to the void’, which undervalues the lyric unnecessarily. ‘Dear Prudence’ – also a 1983 hit for Siouxsie & The Banshees, is more effectively fused into lines from ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’, John’s sniping at hippie poseurs, relegated to the B-side of ‘All You Need Is Love’. Yet as a Beatles tribute act, this four-piece selection indicates that Jeremy & The Lemon Clocks are more accurate than most, more so than the Bootleg Beatles or many other pretenders.

Now they cast off the Beatles guise to become Pink Floyd so convincingly it sounds like studio outtakes or previously unheard alternate versions. They repaint the Mona Lisa so authentically it fools experts, as if using sophisticated scan-technology to pierce through sound-layers and sonic density, obscured by nothing as tenuous as clouds. A Syd-baffling ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ treks through darker dark-matter transcending warp barriers around Saturn’s rings and into the realm of crashing suns. R2D2 twitters. Then they unmask previously suspected subcultural continuity into the Pretty Things ‘It’ll Never Be Me’ and ‘I See You’ (from their 1969 Electric Banana sessions, and from the 1968 album SF Sorrow). Check them back and forth with the originals, the sudden sluices of burning guitar, the quicksilver changes that ebb and flow, come and go. These are early maps of the distant radio-universe seen from its formative phases. Or high-flying drone imagery of a garden of chaos. If ever there’s a pigment famine shortage, and colour drains away, if ever it seems we are going back to a monochrome world, here is all the quinacridone gold we need to hit re-start. Using theoretical chemicals derived from some obscure unethical distillation process involving salt and seaweed to uncage the imagination.

The next group up for replica status is the Byrds, with equally unsettling mimic accuracy. With the strategic use of screaming girls, and Bill Morris standing in for High Masekela on the original 1966 single of Jim McGuinn and Chris Hillman’s satiric ‘So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’. Then, like the Flamin’ Groovies doing Gene Clark’s ‘Feel A Whole Lot Better’ in 1978, they artfully take and extend McGuinn’s treated twelve-string soloing on his and David Crosby’s ‘Why’ – the original B-side of the ‘Eight Miles High’ single, re-recorded for inclusion on the February 1967 Younger Than Yesterday album. Jeremy and his pals musically extemporise around the main theme in ways that we can conjecture the Byrds may well have done in concert, then fade into trip-echo effects, while lyrically stirring up subversive suggestions in the young girl’s mind of refusal to follow parental rules and regulations, to break out of the dead and unforgiving old world order, and embrace the new permissive generation. The third of the high-flying suite jingle-jangles into the nasal ‘The River Flows’ aka ‘Ballad Of Easy Rider’ with Dylan’s lyrical nudges, and a harder edge yet with an eco-purity as untainted as spring water. Dennis Hopper allegedly modelled his Easy Rider movie character ‘Billy’ on David Crosby, so it’s logical that they take the Crosby exit-route to feed into CSN&Y ‘Everybody I Love You’ complete with the faux-Graham Nash high harmonies from Déjà Vu.

The closing track comes from outside the focus decade, drawing on Duane Eddy’s ‘Peter Gunn’ with its nagging repetitive riff – a no.6 UK chart hit 25 June 1959, sharing the same week as Cliff Richard’s ‘Living Doll’ and Bobby Darin’s ‘Dream Lover’ (Duane was revived into the top ten with the Art Of Noise as late as 1986), yet here it’s credited to the even earlier Henry Mancini orchestral instrumental version used as the TV-theme for the American black-&-white Private Eye series. The track forms a suitably cinematic end to a highly visual album.

To Jeremy, ‘the progressive psychedelic music of the 1960s and 1970s spawned a revolution. It blew minds, opened doors, and transformed generations. We, who champion these amazing sounds, are dedicated to keeping them alive. For this project, we celebrate some of our favourites and sprinkle some fresh fruit into the groves. So, eat to the beat, suck it, and see… and may your cup overflow…’ And it doth verily overflow! This double-album with its generous playing-time, is a unique folly, a beautifully constructed curio. You could say it’s an above value-for-bread faux K-Tel compilation, gathering Beatles tracks, Floyd, Byrds, Pretty Things etc into digital dayglo melt-down, or you could say it’s a cosmic radioactive exponential temporal shuttle-pod between Einstein and Roky Erickson, a movie that plays inside your head projecting lysergic constellations onto the lobes of your brain. A fairground of gee-whizz whizz-bangs, but whatever you call this album, it’s one step beyond groovy!








(2024, Fruits De Mer Records Crustacean 99)



(1) ‘Green Tambourine’ (18:07)

(2) ‘Crimson And Clover’ (17:17)

(3) ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’ (5:07)

(4) ‘Spirit In The Sky’ (24:17)

(5) ‘Revolution no.7’ (11:37)

(1) ‘Do Ya’ (5:27)

(2) ‘It’s All Too Much’ (6:27)

(3) ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ (6:27)

(4) ‘Dear Prudence’ (5:37)

(5) ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (7:47)

(6) ‘Obscured By Clouds’ (9:47)

(7) ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ (5:17)

(8) ‘It’ll Never Be Me’ (5:37)

(9) ‘I See You’ (5:07)

(10) ‘So You Wanna Be A Rock And Roll Star’ (3:27)

(11) ‘Why’ (5:27)

(12) ‘The River Flows’ (2:37)

(13) ‘Everybody I Love You’ (3:07)

(14) ‘Peter Gunn’ (4:27)



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