by Mott the Dog
***** 5 Stars Rating
Definitely one of the wackiest albums ever recorded,
every track is an absolute corker. The whole album was put onto tape in 5
days of madness at Advisions Studios London.
For the sessions Guy Stevens, the band’s original
mentor, was brought back after not being at the controls for the band’s
previous album “Wildlife” (which the band themselves had already
dubbed mildlife). Guy arrived at the studio with engineer Andy Johns, who
was feeling no pain having just come away from the Rolling Stones, armed
with a case of Vino Calapso and dressed as Zoro with cape, mask and sword,
insisting the tracks were all laid down in one take. “Brain Capers”
(featuring the Brain Caper Kids) as the album became known, had an amazing
atmosphere with last gasp energy capturing Mott in a wild and manic mood,
predating punk rock; the overall feel of Brain Capers was barely
controlled chaos, but it remains a brilliant and crucial album.
Once described as the great lost hard rock L.P. of all time, the record
drew a line in the sand between sixties and seventies music (recorded in
1971 six months before Bowie gave Mott “All The Young Dudes”)
revealing almost everything called rock and the subsequent punk movement
six years later to be nothing short of fraudulent. After just one listen
to this album you can clearly hear where “The Sex Pistols” and “The
Damned” got their influences.
Opening track “Death May Be Your Santa Claus” is a
pounding rocker with fearsome guitars, wailing organ, a catchy hook, and
carrying a trademark message of defiance.
Tracks two and three were imaginative and tasteful
cover versions of Dion Dimuccis’ auto biographical anti drug song
“Your Own Backyard” and the Young Bloods neglected classic “Darkness
Darkness” featuring Mick Ralphs on vocals and contained some excellent
guitar. Mott had the panache to re-interpret other writers’ material
with feeling and understanding.
“The Journey”, a sad, introspective, masterful
ballad some eight minutes long, was Mott’s equivalent of Zeppelin’s
“Stairway To Heaven”, building to a dramatic conclusion. The Journey
started life as a poem, before becoming the central piece of Mott’s
stage act, demonstrating Hunter is a writer who has made a major
contribution to rock music. The song was also a personal favorite of
Verden Allen, whose keyboard playing excelled throughout Brain Capers most
notably on this opus.
“Sweet Angeline” is a brilliant all out rocker,
with Hunter adopting Dylanesque vocals, and is still in his solo live set
“Second Love” was Verden Allen’s first song
recorded by Mott the Hoople and fair plucks at the old heartstrings.
The penultimate track “The Moon Upstairs” is one of
the most powerful tracks that Mott ever recorded. The song was
unquestionably six years ahead of its time being a frightening “New
Wave” fuzz tone premonition that musically and lyrically rendered late
seventies “Punk Rock” tone clumsy, and lacking in any real substance.
Brian Capers coda was a two minute instrumental piece
named “The Wheel Of The Quivering Meat Conception” which was actually
nothing more than the climax from a frantic jam from one of the sessions
from “The Journey” - a fine way to close the album.
Ian Hunter - Vocals, Guitar & Piano
Mick Ralphs - Vocals & Lead Guitar
Verden Allen - Keyboards
Overand Watts - Bass
Buffin - Drums
1. Death May Be Your Santa Claus
2. Your Own Backyard
3. Darkness Darkness
4. The Journey
5. Sweet Angeline
6. Second Love
7. The Moon Upstairs
8. The Wheel Of The Quivering Meat Conception