Pink Fairies – “Resident Reptiles”

Pink Fairies – “Resident Reptiles” (Cleopatra Records) 

Battle Helm Rating

OMG. Pink Fairies. I never thought I’d hear that name again and certainly not on a new recording! I’ve heard stories and infamous tales about these guys over the decades, and I’m sure that all of them were shockingly true. Formed at the end of the 60s, these excessive psych anarchists were straight out’ve the West London hippie commune of Ladbroke Grove – that’s down the road from fashionable Notting Hill maaaaaaaaann! Drug fuelled and completely out of control, the Fairies nevertheless released 3 regarded albums (when they got their act together) including “What A Bunch Of Sweeties” which actually charted nationally in 1972, along with playing the first Glastonbury Festival and other ‘free’ festivals that were happening during the early 70s. Signed to Polydor, the band could’ve been big, however, excess and infighting has seen history consign them to cult status, occasionally mentioned in the mainstream owing to guitarist Larry Wallis’s Motorhead connection. By 1977 it was all over for the band although there have been sporadic one off reunions of different members depending on their health, mental condition and whether on talking terms with each other! Given that, “Resident Reptiles” is an achievement in itself. Officially the 9th Fairies album (not withstanding the countless contentious releases over the years), it features founding guitarist Paul Rudolph along with original Motörhead drummer Lucas Fox and Hawkwind bassist Alan Davey. If that doesn’t sound respectable enough then original Motörhead and Fairies guitarist Larry Wallis was with the band in spirit as they churned out an excellent version of his tune ‘Old Enuff To Know Better’! Together, they’ve put on an incredibly tight performance (by Fairies standards) on the 9 tracks that still resonate the style and sound of 70s anarchic psych rock, while using today’s production and the talent of Jurgen Engler of Die Kruups behind the desk. Like I said, it’s an achievement and I really hope it prompts people to check out the band’s hazy past cos the material here is excellent. Rudolph coolly mixes blues elements while retaining his people power fire on ‘Your Cover Is Blown’ before unleashing the wah in vivid contrast to his nonchalant drawls as Fox goes into his own percussive overdose. Chugging biker rock is the theme on ‘Lone Wolf’ as Davey’s bass rumblings run riot while the riotous energy of Rudolph’s breaks and licks are non stop, ensuring the track is as funky as it is sassy. A spontaneous collaboration of ideas recorded mostly live according to Rudolph, ‘Whipping Boy’ is a monster jam with his raw revved up guitar dancing all over the smooth rhythm groove, steady in its beat, but slowly and surely getting inside your head as the chorus trips you out without any chemical inducement. Less freakish but still far out, “Resident Reptiles” is a commendable achievement so whatever the future of the Fairies, at least they can’t say they went out on a downer.

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