Published on April 2nd, 2017 | by Brussels In View


That summer feeling…

George Ternent reviews the latest offering from Brussels band The Narcotic Daffodils
It’s been three years since the band’s last album, Cellex, was released and there have been a number of personnel changes since then, with Luna taking up vocal duties, Arne the drums and Maria the Guitar.

I remember hearing Maria playing with an all-girl band many years ago and they blew me away, so the prospect of her joining the Narcotic Daffodils was exciting. As before, the bass is supplied by the inimitable Flupke, with Simon providing sitar and keyboard licks on the Hammond.

  1. Summer Love

Any fears that the new line-up have lost the spirit of the old are quickly dispelled by the opening and title track of the album, Summer Love. Gilly Smythe’s, Gong style, whisper voices draw you in before Flupke’s bass joins, with the Hammond underpinning proceedings. The song ends with a melange of sitar and synth, underlining the fact that the Narcotic Daffodils are back with a bang.

  1. Naturally High

This song was written by Flupke about a fan of the band, who always went BIG at their concerts, rocking out 110% without the aid of drink or drugs and totally into their vibe. Naturally high on the music and the spirit of the band. I can definitely relate to that.

  1. Guardians

Guardians sees the band dipping their toes into the sort of distorted reality they have in the past with tracks like Weathered (on their previous album), a swirling maelstrom of sound that sucks you in, spins you around and spits you out.

  1. Hypnotized

Flower Power Man, he’s got magic hands, spreading love. This one reminds me a little bit of the Kinks and has a low-down, dirty organ sound reminiscent of Gimme Some Loving by the Spencer Davis Group. Lovely stuff.

  1. You Can’t Get

Some nice harmonies going on here, like a Gregorian chant on acid. This song features the album’s only Hammond solo and it’s damned fine. There’s also a lovely solo from Maria, a fluid sound that mixes seamlessly with the vocals.

  1. Bruxelles

Sung in French and Flemish, Bruxelles is the band’s love song to the Belgian capital, with the haunting sound of the city’s metro floating over it all – backed by some more excellent keyboard work.

  1. Atomic 53

Atomic 53 is based on one of Maria’s riffs. It opens to the sound of sitar and is a nice, slow burner, grooving into the kind of sound you can see yourself head-banging to at concerts, the kind of song you never want to end. Great vocals, too, and the perfect way to end the album.

Overall, I think that Summer Love is a less-diverse album than its predecessor, but is a much more cohesive album.

The world is a strange place at the moment, slipping back to a darker, more-dangerous time, when nationalism and xenophobia were on the rise and ignorance was king. The new Narcotic Daffodils album also turns back the clock, but to more enlightened times, to the days of Woodstock, the days of Janis and Jimi and that famous ‘summer of love’. As a perfect antidote to today’s news, flower power has returned once more. And the Narcotic Daffodils are blooming again, a cause for celebration.

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