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Our Own ESP Driven Scene: Singles, Comps. & Outtakes 1995-2000

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Album Review

An hour's worth of, as the subtitle says, "singles, comps and outtakes '95-'00," Our Own ESP Driven Scene Singles gives Photon Band mainman Art Difuria and his various compatriots (drummer Simon Nagle and bassists Gary Plowman and Jeff Tanner) a chance to strut their wiggy and wild stuff. A fair amount of early tracks, like "Supertard," are essentially just what happens when a bunch of characters decide to make loud and merrily stumbling garage/psych/shoegaze songs without necessarily writing a song first. As a result, when there's a bit more focus to go with the noise, the results readily stand out; if Difuria doesn't really add anything to the particular styles he favors, the energy and fun of the songs at their best make up for it. Even some of the titles convey things perfectly — that a peppy, semi-acoustic, trombone-tinged number with gently off singing is called "You Can Never Really Have Too Much Wine" seems about right. His vocal range also stands out more over the course of the album, as he tries everything from gentle harmonizing to more frazzled yowls. "Rise Above" — not the Black Flag song, but that could have been fun — has Difuria indulging in a bit of classic '60s psych vocalizing over the loping strut of the music, while "747" and "The Magic Word" throw in a bit of semi-country drawl and twang (guitar and singing both). If there's a secret highlight, "End of the Century #2" — with its sweet, reflective melody and Difuria's grand lead work — is the winner. Difuria tops everything off with amusing and informative liner notes, as well as pointed ones: for the hilarious goof/acoustic party jam "Commercial for Taking Drugs," he notes, "This song got harder to play after I went to a few untimely drug funerals."


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Starting with 1996's 747 (Don't Worry) on Darla Records, Philadelphia's Photon Band unleashed a flurry of unique psychedelia-tinged indie rock onto the music scene. Led by ex-Lilys member Art Difuria and backed by drummer Simon Nagle and bassists Gary Plowman and Jeff Tanner, the band wasn't heard from again until 1999's limited-edition All Young in the Soul, while 2000's Oh the Sweet, Sweet Changes found the band embracing '60s-influenced rock. Also in 2000, the band released Our Own ESP Driven...
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Our Own ESP Driven Scene: Singles, Comps. & Outtakes 1995-2000, Photon Band
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