Guest Post, ep. 1: Psyche rock from Lebanon

I’ve wanted to do this for a while, and now’s the first chance I’ve had.  This is a guest post by Keith Hadad.  Enjoy!

Artist: The Sea-dres

Title: The Sea-ders

Released: 1960s (reissued in 2008)

Label: Groovie Records (Portugal:  GROO 0014LP), Lion Productions (UK)

Format: 12” LP, CD (UK edition)

Genre: psychedelic rock, psychedelic pop, mid-east traditional, rock

Reissuesof near-forgotten rarities from the sixties and seventies come and go constantly these days without anyone outside of the serious music collector being the wiser. This is mostly because the re-releases are specifically aimed at the collector and therefore inaccessible to anyone else.  owever, the reissue of The Sea-ders’ complete collection of songs has awaken to great acclaim by collectors and the loose music fan alike.

The Sea-ders (aka The Cedars) started off as a rock band in Beirut, Lebanon going by the name ‘The Top 5’ in the mid 1960s. Then they moved to London and released a few singles and an E.P. between 1966 and 1968. After some very mild success, The Sea-ders faded from the English limelight. In the time between their prime and today, The Sea-ders have only appeared on various “lost-gem” compilations and uber-rare semi-bootleg re-releases.

When the opening track begins, their Middle Eastern background clearly shines through. Their native instrumentation starts off the track in an acoustic array of completely non-Western sounds that one might hear on one of those Putumayo world music albums. Quickly, the song becomes catchy and pleasing as an electric bass and a sweet drum kit bounces it into a likable pop-rock track (that I dare say is even danceable!) All of the songs have a sunny psychedelic tinge to them without a single hint of sadness (this is most evident on “For Your Information”, “Hide if You Want to Hide” and “Thanks a Lot”).  The combination of Beatles-esque pop and traditional Middle Eastern instrumentation and rhythms somehow work and comes off as sounding both timelessly vintage and deliciously fresh. Easy comparisons of their sound could be made to Revolver and Rubber Soul-era Beatles, the early Who records, and (certainly) The Kinks. The Sea-ders feature a sixties English rock sound with Middle Eastern acoustic string instruments (such as the Oud) all swimming and chopping through easily accessible pop melodies. If The Kinks made singles to belly dance to, they would surely be these songs.

The only complaint I can dig into this record is that the playtime is roughly just twenty minutes. This is forgivable however, since this self-titled  compilation album is a round up of literally, every recording that the band made during their stay in England. They honestly just did not have anything more to add.

The Sea-ders, 40 years later, still offers a shot of luminously pleasing pop rock with a unique twist that could simultaneously fit into the worlds of rare music collectors, ethnic music fans, and just about anyone who appreciates a crisp danceable rhythm.

4 out of 5.

Added by Nick:  Should you buy this?  While this is hard to unearth, prices for the CD version are still relatively low, according to Discogs.com.  The LP version is a little harder to obtain.  As aforementioned, if you’re a fan of early to mid-era psyche rock/pop, you’ll enjoy this.  It is a glimpse at how the spirit of the 80s and its music influenced the world.

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About Nick H.

I'm a geek for music whether it be on vinyl, CD, 78 or whatever. My goal is to sniff out the greated music on Earth, specializing in the obscure. I make music myself as well, mostly ambient and sound collage (1 album out and a few remixes so far). I work full time as a professional mascot (it pays the pills) but will soon retire, i hope.
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