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Cyborgs Revisited

Simply Saucer

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Album Review

Simply Saucer's Cyborgs Revisited is a truly amazing album. In 1974-1975 not many bands had their energy, attitude, and sonic imagination. The tough garage and psychedelic-influenced songs are sprinkled with manic synthesizer freak-outs and theremin breaks. Songs like "Electro Rock" and the manic two-part "Here Come the Cyborgs" sound simultaneously ten years behind and ahead of their time with their mix of frat-house stomp and art-house clatter. Elsewhere the ghost of the Velvet Underground is conjured up through Edgar Breau's deadpan vocals and the almost funky rhythms of tracks like "Dance the Mutation," and the influence of the Stooges is apparent on the Raw Power lite balladry of "Bullet Proof Nothing" and the frequent punk snarl. You also get visions of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd on the long, trippy "Illegal Bodies" and the 13th Floor Elevators on the woozy "Mole Machine." Don't for a minute think that the band were mere copyists, they took these influences and whipped them into a concoction that sounds like no other band of the time. You can hear traces of their sound in bands like Sonic Youth and Das Damen. This is truly an earth-shatteringly important record and everyone should thank Sonic Unyon for keeping it available. Everyone should also give them a slap for including a load of bonus material to the original album. It dates from 1977 and 1978 and is nowhere near as exciting and innovative as the original album. The first four tracks are taken from rehearsals in 1977 and show that the band has evolved into a not very interesting garage rock band, very straightforward and melody free. The next three songs are taken from a live show at the beginning of 1978, and through the haze of the poor recording, it sounds like the band have jumped with both feet on the power pop bandwagon. They don't have the songs or vocals to pull it off, judging by the songs here. The last two bonus tracks are from Simply Saucer's 1978 single, "I Can Change My Mind and She's a Dog." Both songs are pretty lame attempts at power punk-pop, "She's a Dog" being especially offensive, not so much for the non-humorous lyrics as for Breau's tuneless vocals. What you have here is a textbook, well-documented case of a band completely losing the plot, of going from stunning innovators to crummy imitators. It is very sad, but at least it answers the question of why Simply Saucer never made a second album.

Biography

Formed: 1973 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '00s

This four-piece band from Hamilton, Ontario, was formed in 1973 by Edgar Breau on lead guitar and vocals, Kevin Christoff on bass, Neil DeMerchant on drums, and Ping Romany on electronics. Though Simply Saucer had the guts to bring together tremendous influences from rock's past, including the Velvet Underground, early Pink Floyd, and the Stooges, the band was hardly noticed outside of its local area. After numerous lineup changes and shifts in sound, Simply Saucer disbanded by the end of the '70s,...
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Cyborgs Revisited, Simply Saucer
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