Forgotten series: McFadden’s Parachute – Flashback To My Hometown (2012)

Hard to believe that the 2012 release by McFadden’s Parachute was this Rochester, New York-based outfit’s 27th album since 1991. That rivals Guided By Voices’ output for sheer volume. Like that aforementioned band, Flashback To My Hometown was a lo-fi recording, with this one actually recorded in an attic. How’s that for authenticity?

McFadden’s Parachute is essentially one-man band, multi-instrumentalist Darren Brennessel. He even designs the album covers, as well. For Flashback To My Hometown (Jargon Records), he concentrated on tribute covers of obscure 1960s-era garage and psych bands, along with a couple of famous rock acts from the subsequent decade, including the Sweet and Atomic Rooster. The album was completed with a trio of like-minded new originals, and they meshed in quite seamlessly.

The jingle-jangle and fuzz-soaked “Up So High,” originally recorded by the What’s New in 1966, was the standout track here on all counts — as McFadden’s Parachute retained the spirit of mid-60s for this fab update. A pure Acid confessional, it somehow drifts one mile higher than the Byrds’ own “Eight Miles High.”The pedal-to-the-metal heavy wah-wah sound of the 49th Parallel’s 1967 track “Close the Barn Door” features a tale of keeping one’s head together when your folks are away and the presence of certain hallucinogenics take over. Wah-wah figures central, as well, in an almost disco-manic speed with an Cream-era Eric Clapton-like guitar on top for “And I Wonder What I’m Doing” — one of the three originals included here. This particular tune was the best of the self-penned songs, and that’s not a knock.

The Sweet’s 1975 classic “Fox on the Run,” perhaps the most well-known song on Flashback To My Hometown, is redone effectively as a wild 1960s-influened psych tune. “Flashback” sounds like a lost Love or Leaves outtake cut from the same cloth as “My Flash on You” or “Hey Joe.” Meanwhile, “Hometown” — originally done by the same band, the Silk Winged Alliance in ’68 — sounds like a similar knockoff. You gotta admire the spirit in which these recordings were made, as they really do sound similar to 1960s garage records — not only with the choice of instrumentation, but also in the primitive lo-fi recording technique.

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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