Forty-two years ago, Fuchsia had one release, one gig and then disappeared, disappointing fans and leaving only their album as a suggestion of what could have been. Tony Durant has spent most of the intervening years in South Australia and only now do we have the privilege of a second album. It more than makes up for the long wait.

Named after the despairing and dark character of Fuchsia Groan from Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels, Fuchsia play a brand of psychedelic folk not seen since the tail end of the psychedelic movement, which is not surprising given their history. What is surprising is the way the sequel album takes advantage of musical and technical advances yet retains that original essence that made Fuchsia such a classic.

The album opens with ‘Melancholy Road’, a song heavily reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s folkier numbers. A jaunty beat carries the track ever forward while violins provide a whimsical backdrop to Durant’s ruminations on past and present. Durant’s voice is strong but it is used as a vehicle for the poetic lyrics more than an instrument, though it is put to great harmonic effect on songs like ‘The Waves’. ‘Fuchsia Song’ has a very Irish sound which provides a great danceable energy, while ‘I’ll Remember Her Face I’ll Remember Her Name’ has a more sombre tone both musically and lyrically.

Throughout the album I am reminded of classic songs from The Beatles, Pink Floyd; there are even some notes of Led Zeppelin here. While these comparisons are unavoidable given the overall texture, Fuchsia II is an original take on the classic Celtic folk sound.

Folk lovers, don’t miss out; get this album, turn it up and let the violins carry you away to a distant place.

4.5/5 stars


II: From Psychedelia To A Distant Place is out now independently/Bandcamp.

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