A Visit To The Spaceship Factory: 20 Gems From The Early Years Of Prog is a collection of tunes from acts well-known and otherwise. If you nod your head in recognition of bands such as Beggars Opera, Kingdom Come and UFO, you may be scratching your noggin when you see others such as Little Big Horn, Sheephouse or Axe.
Spaceship Factory focuses on music released primarily from the early 1970s, although one track – Helter Skelter’s “I Need You” – wasn’t released until 1977. To my ear, most of these songs are more rock/psych than prog – don’t expect Mellotrons and Moogs at every turn – but do expect a wide range of styles and some excellent music.
The guitar- and organ-driven “Why Not Tonight” by Treetops opens the disc on a very high note, with some standout drumming reminiscent of Brian Downey’s playing in Thin Lizzy. Jericho’s “So Come On” features a pulsating guitar riff and a snaky harmony line; Fuzzy Duck’s “Just Look Around You” sounds like a mix of Eric Clapton, Badfinger and Yes; Strange Fox’s “Bring It On Home” opens with a blast of guitar chords and drum fills, sounding a bit like The Who, before the vocal and some lovely harmony singing. The tune has a fine sheen, kind of like heavy power-pop; Onyx’s “Air” has the feel of The James Gang’s “Funk #49,” and features a searing guitar solo and hoppin’ keyboards; and Sunchariot’s “Do You Wanna Know” could be a lost Wishbone Ash track, circa Argus.
There’s lots more to enjoy here, and Psychic Circle Records are to be lauded for re-opening the doors and letting us in for a tour of the spaceship factory. Dusty yes, but the rockets still fire up!