Pisces – A Lovely Sight

Pisces – A Lovely Sight

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There have been many artists resurrected by a later generation, their albums pulled from obscurity to the bright lights of reissues, re-mastering, and recognition. Their stories are tragic, mysterious, and legend proceeds them: Robert Johnson selling his soul at the crossroads, Nick Drake’s lonely end. Pisces does not fall into this category. To be saved from obscurity, to be revived, indicates ignored output. Pisces total commercial releases consists of three 7” singles between 1968-69, one of which under the moniker Bruner, for Linda Bruner whom they collaborated with on four songs.

The album under review here is new. That is to say, it never existed. Aside from the three A-sides, none of this music has been released commercially or realistically heard outside of main Pisces members Jim Krein and Paul DiVenti’s basement, studio and minds. The album title A Lovely Sight, chosen as it was the band’s name early on and later the name of Krein and DiVenti’s Rockford studio, opens with “Dear One,” part of the collaborations with Linda Bruner. A snaky, Jeffersonian Airplane track with Bruner’s wispy deep proclamation, “Dear one, tell me your dreams.” The fuzzed out psychedelia that colors this record already illuminates the room in a dark-light veneer.

In the studio, Pisces experimented constantly – recording backwards, tape-splicing, playing broken instruments – and their songs impart a lysergic hum. These experiments culminated in their first single “Genesis II.” In an Electric Lady Land inspired chorus of backwards tape effects, DiVenti whispers laments of how man “must steal from his brother to keep a happy wife” before being presented the ominous hope of judgment day. In instances, Pisces come off too over the top. Despite the creative studio practices, the low-fidelity imparts an immaturity, but is so congruent with the genre and the mid-’60s that it’s hardly a concern. Fans of Donovan and the Electric Prunes will revel in the psychedelic bounce of “Like A Hole in the Wall Where the Rat Lives” and “Elephant Eyes,” a muddy-grit romp likely politically charged: “It gets dark without light, with elephant eyes.”

Linda Bruner’s 17-year-old voice and 12-string guitar mix potently, providing the best moments from the album. “Sam” may be the strongest track on the album and the story of a fallen soldier in “Say Goodbye to John” is hypnotizing with its chorus of, “no no no no no”s. The four tracks on which Bruner is featured are crisp and full of potential; unfortunately, after recording the songs, Bruner left the recording industry feeling cheated and used by the band’s label Vincent Records. Interestingly, the liner notes point out that she was last heard from on the run from a failed check fraud scheme.

Numero Group has done a great job releasing this album. Originally found through research on soul music, Numero identified Pisces output, including a long forgotten nine-song acetate, as an unpolished gem. While not as fantastic as psychedelia’s truly staple records, Pisces holds up neatly. Listeners tired of pulling out I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night yet again will find great enjoyment out of this little record that never was, and adds a striking feature to the already brilliant complexion of the late ’60s.


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