Electric Prunes - Mass In F Minor
In truth, innovative though it was at the time, the idea of bringing church music into rock has been done since - most notably through Enigma in the early nineties. Yet at the time this was so innovative that it really caused a mighty stir. The Catholic church itself reacted none too kindly to this either, particularly as the Third Vatican Council was in the process of ditching the Latin Tridentine Mass in favour of mass said in the vernacular. Yet this was no gimmick. The band was totally serious with this project. What you get is psychedelia meets God in no uncertain terms. And a lot of it is sung in Latin too!
Truth is, it works. Strange as it may seem, the Electric Prunes manage to pull it off. Each song opens with plainsong chanting in Latin, often backed only with little more than an organ tuned to make it sound like it sits in a church, leading into a jumble of sounds straight from the drug-induced state which the Electric Prunes were in most of the time. Then back to some more chanting and onto the next part of the mass. Strange as that description sounds, it is nothing compared to what it actually is. This simply has to be listened to - several times - to get a full appreciation of what is going on here. Whether or not the band were attempting to use modern instruments to spiritual effect, or whether they were just taking the undeniable simple beauty of Latin plainsong and using it to create an effect is impossible to tell. But the more you listen to this the more you realise this is something special.
Sadly, the album is not all good. Of the eight tracks on the album two are bonus tracks and have nothing to do with the overall theme. As a result those two songs, "Hey Mr President" and "Flowing Smoothly" are completely out of place and can only be described as pointless filler. It is a pity that the band could not have either extended the six tracks they had or added two more to complete the theme. The best thing you can do is switch off after "Agnus Dei" and not bother with the two final, secular tracks.
Long deleted and rarely available even in second hand stores, I had to scan the evil satanic interweb to find this. I ended with a mixture of straight downloads from Limewire and bits of torrents from across the net in order to piece the album together. It took a while to assemble all the components, but in the end it was well worth the time and effort involved. It was only much later, when the US reissue became available in the UK, that I managed to find a copy of this in one of the little independent record shops on Berwick Street.
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on 2011-06-08 CharlesMartel Said:
One of the more unusual albums of the sixties, psychedelic drugs and the Catholic church - some mix.