Crystal Jacqueline – “Rainflower”
March 16, 2015 Goldmine magazine
Few albums in recent years can be said to have eclipsed Crystal Jacqueline’s Sun Arise, although one comes very close. And the fact that it’s her own follow-up set detracts from neither her debut’s brilliance or its successor’s genius.
Opening with a “Siren” that restates her uncanny ability to channel Grace Slick without really sounding remotely like her, but powering on through ten songs that merge her musical taste for classic psych with a literary bent that bows through darker pastures, “Rainflower” hits its first peak early, with a “Winter Deep / Dress Of White Lace” that kickstarts memories of the scary bits from Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, without offering you a single reason to think in those terms.
The mood lightens across “Daisy Chains,” which is the kind of thing Pink Floyd might have thought of as a potential hit single around 1968, while the post-Barrett spacemen re-emerge across a gorgeous cover of “Grantchester Meadows,” restyled as eastern mantra and reminding us that that band’s most overlooked era (apres Syd, pre-Meddle) is also the source of their most fertile fruit.
If anything here states Crystal Jacqueline’s magic, though; even more than the sensual soul that is the heartbeat of her own compositions… even more than “Mary Waiting,” whose voice and bee-hum intro alone with steal your eyes…, it’s her take on Status Quo’s “In My Chair.” Once a slice of luciously lazy rhythm’n’boogie, here it is recast in some dark place midway between “Season of the Witch” and “Lucifer Sam,” supremely foreboding, sexy and sinuous… and underpinned by a guitar riff that sounds like a pagan God clearing his throat.
Do you even need to ask any more?
Crystal Jacqueline – “Rainflower”
March 8, 2015 Aural Innovations
Crystal Jacqueline and cohort Icarus Peel have been on a roll since the debut Honey Pot album in 2012, chocking up a bevy of beautifully composed, executed and produced Psych/Folk/Pop/Prog songs and killer covers of both classic and obscure tunes. If you’ve read my past reviews you’ll know what a great job they do with the covers. But Peel has been flying high on my radar so I’m pleased to see a higher ratio of his originals on the latest Crystal Jacqueline outing – Rainflower.
The album opens with the Lullingly intense, Prog steeped, Pop-Psych song Siren, which takes a lighter bouncy turn near the end. The first part of the 10 minute Winter Deep / Dress Of White Lace is co-written by Peel and Mordecai Smyth, being a tenderly hypnotic, ethereally mind-bending Folk-Psych song with beautiful vocals, leading into a spaced out lysergic sound exploration passage before launching into the heavenly space-orchestral Dress Of White Lace. I floated along with the acoustic/electric guitar, organ, percussion and flute blend on Water Hyacinth. Daisy Chains is a heavy rocking blast of Psychedelic Pop. Mary Waiting consists of dreamily orchestrated Folk-Pop-Psych and lots of trippy jamming. I swooned to the darkly surreal and hauntingly seductive Strange Bloom, which is like a 60s Psychedelic take on the Torch song. The gently uplifting Rainflower is a gem. And Again… Dragonfly starts off with sparse, atmospheric instrumentation, the spotlight being on the vocals, before soaring into the cosmos for a blistering Psychedelic anthem finale.
Rounding out the set are two cover tunes: Jacqueline goes down ‘n dirty Psych-Blues rocking and injects freaked out efx into Status Quo’s In my Chair. And the spirit of the original is retained on Roger Waters’ Grantchester Meadows, though it’s imbued with a cool combination of acoustic drift and atmospheric intensity.
The production, also by Peel is stellar, giving the music an expansive and majestic back-in-the-day but with modern technology feel. This is like the best of Psychedelically orchestrated, craftily arranged and freakily efx’d 60s songs, but without feeling overly retro. And the vocals… Jacqueline is a wonderful singer but the way the harmonies and multi-tracking is handled brings a tear to the eye.
The album will be released on May 18th in CD and LP editions, both limited to 250 each, and of course there will be a download available as well.
The Strange Brew
Crystal Jacqueline’s superb Floyd cover, ‘Grantchester Meadows’, featured on the recent Fruits de Mer Podcast, so it’s timely that it forms part of her forthcoming album ‘Rainflower’ available on Mega Dodo Records. Like her previous long player ‘Sun Arise’ intersperses a few choice reinterpretations of vintage material; however new material is the focus again, written and produced by Icarus Peel.
This modern take on 60s/70s influences works well throughout and Jacqueline’s voice consistently enchants the listener. Highlights include the acid-folk tinged ‘Winter Deep / Dress of Winter Lace’ recalling a Gathering The Mushrooms outtake, ‘Daisy Chain’, a war tinged ‘Dandelion Seeds’ plus the sultry psych of ‘Strange Bloom’.
The album’s title track ‘Rainflower’ is a memorable acoustic number recalling Nick Drake, with the moody closer ‘Again… Dragonfly’ providing a fitting climax.
Rainflower is released on 25th May as a 180g LP the first 100 of which come with an A5 postcard and scented rainflower petals. Also available as a limited edition digi-pack CD featuring the bonus track ‘In My Chair’.
Crystal Jacqueline and The Honey Pot launch ‘Rainflower’ at the Half Moon, Putney on 24th May as part of the Fruits de Mer and Mega Dodo ‘Games For May’ extravaganza.
Rainflower can be purchased here:
If you like this you’ll also love her other release: ‘Crystal Jacqueline & The Honey Pot; Electronic Memory’. It’s a splendid 60s style jaunt, encapsulating the best sounds from the original technicolor era:
New Underground Music
Crystal Jacqueline was born in Wiltshire, England and at a young age she developed her talent and love for music.
They performed regularly in and around Bath, which constituted a valuable experience and her praise and later moved further to the South of the country, where they played in several bands, which performed at home and abroad.
She lives in Devon with her pig, cats, geese and her partner Icarus Peel, with whom she plays in The band The Honey Pot, which started in 2012 and in the beginning from 5 people existed, but nowadays only consists of: Crystal Jacqueline-voice and piano, Icarus Peel-all other instruments and Brian Rushbrooke-drums.
In 2010 she released her solo debut album "Heal Yourself" via Psychedandy Records from and in 2012 her first record with The Honey Pot, entitled "To The Edge Of The World" on the Mega Dodo label.
In november 2012, she recorded the EP "A Fairy Tale" on containing 3 covers: "Cousin Jane" (Troggs), "A Fairy Tale" (Second Hand), "Play With Fire" (Rolling Stones), which by Fruits De Mer Records was released.
Her last LP appeared "Sun Arise" was in 2013 through the Mega Dodo Records label on the market and contains 16 songs, including the songs from the EP "A Fairy Tale".
Her last published CD album with The Honey Pot "Electronic Memory", that in a very limited box Edition of 100 pieces appears, contains a 12 page booklet, 2 postcards and a badge.
The tracks of the CD, whose cover "Hole In My Shoe" of Traffic for the first time on CD appears, were previously, in the summer of 2014, by Fruits De Mer Records on 2 vinyl Eps released.
"Rainflower" is the second album, that by 2015 of her again and appears all the songs written and produced by her husband Icarus Peel.
The album will appear on 180 gram vinyl on 25 may, with the first 100 copies are accompanied by an A5 poster and to rainflower smelling petals and also the album will appear as in a limited edition digipack with the bonus track "In My Chair".
The music of the album will be heard on May 24 during the performance of Crystal Jacqueline & The Honey Pot to The Half Moon in Putney, where they form part of the "Games For May Festival", that by Mega Dodo Records and Fruits De Mer Records is being organised.
The CD "Rainflower" contains 10 songs (the LP 9), of which the first is "Siren" and herein do I get to hear a delicious light psychedelic song, which is played in an average pace and by the end slowly to get a little more speed.
Then I hear the longest track of the plate, "Winter Deep/Dress Or White Lace" titled, that just over 10 minutes and in this issue let me enjoy a quiet Crystal Jacqueline psychedelic pop song, which, as the title suggests, has two parts.
This is followed by "Water Hyacinth", in which I turn such a beautiful quiet pop song to hear get (listen to this song via the youtube link under the review), followed by "Daisy Chains", a brilliant light psychedelic pop song, which has a swinging rhythm and is played in an average pace.
Then it's the turn for the extra track "In My Chair" and it serves me a fantastic Crystal Jacqueline swinging rock song, in which blues rock influences in by sound, with which they heard, not to be bound to certain types of music.
"Mary Waiting" start them without guidance and leave to be able to hear fine solo, after which the music in falls and I get a nice quiet pop song to hear and in "Strange Bloom" I get again a great nice quiet psychedelic pop song to hear, which they seem to have a patent.
With "Grantchester Meadows" I get a nice to hear in the hearing sounding pop song, which contains several fine tempo changes, after which the title song "Rainflower" follows me again and let them enjoy a delicious pop song, which is played in an average pace and in the latest issue "Again ... Dragonfly "I get a beautiful, quite obscure-sounding, pop song to hear.
Crystal Jacqueline has with "Rainflower" again succeeded in making an excellent plate, which is full of beautiful quiet numbers and I find this disc a must for every lover of the better pop music.
Crystal Jacqueline is part of the west of England-based Honey Pot collective,
whose rather enjoyable pop- psych (with a side rural acid- folk) album sneaked out earlier this year. And on this, her debut, she's pushed the dial a couple of years forward into the the '70s, creating some alluring psych-prog interludes not too far away from the likes of Curved Air and Renaissance.
As befitting a Fruit de Mers Records staple, Jacqueline has included a cover or two with the stand out being the atmospheric take on The Troggs' eerie 'Cousin Jane', which sounds even more sinister than the original. Equally as good is a version of Second Hand's 'A Fairytale', driven along by a squeaky organ and some punchy guitar. The originals are entertaining too. The title track is a glam-rock stomper while 'I Break' is a gossamer light acoustic ballad with an odd melodic twist.
Following Crystal Jacqueline's recent EP on Fruits de Mer comes this full length album of covers and new material. Sun Arise is undoubtedly not the Rolf Harris song of the same title, but an intense psych-rock piece with atmospheric, spacerockish touches. A Fairy Tale, from the Fruits de Mer EP and originally by Second Hand, is an effective mixture of freakbeat, baroque and prog. Dream I is excellent ethereal yet strongly melodic psychedelia. Alice is whimsical and dreamlike psych-pop with lyrics inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Cousin Jane, also from the Fruits de Mer EP, adds a whole new lesbian twist to this creepy incest song originally by The Troggs. Fly A Kite, from the Mary Poppins soundtrack, is reinvented here as a mixture of psychedelic whimsy and more intense proggy moments. An enjoyable album, with inventive reworkings of vintage tracks and well crafted new material.
It’s one of those albums that you hear once, play again, and before you know it, an entire day has gone by and you’ve still not heard enough. Crystal Jacqueline may not be a household name … at least, not yet.
But in that corner of modern psychedelia that seems to be expanding with every passing day, a heap of Youtube clips have now transformed into Sun Arise (Mega Dodo) and, as 21st century debut albums go, it takes a lot of beating.
Think… classic Airplane merged with Syd Barrett’s Floyd, then drape them in sunshine flavored gauze. Think Me and My Kites and Us and Them, modern psychedelic warlords who have already run a few lap around our ears, then push them into the things that a starburst dreams of. Think “Let’s Go Fly A Kite,” and imagine Mary Poppins getting high on the first This Mortal Coil LP. Sun Arise is all these things, and every fresh spin brings a new thought to mind.
Crystal Jacqueline herself was a founding member of the Honey Pot, Brit psych merchants par excellence; and a founder, too, of the Green Question Mark, alongside Mordecai Smith and Marrs Bonfire.
She’s familiar, too, to anyone collecting Fruits de Mer, that most intrepid of vinyl 45 labels, and a few songs on the album have already spun on single. But still the main feast will devour you with unfathomable relish, because the songs that soar from the CD are ones you’ve been dreaming might sound like this for aeons.
The Stones’ “Play With Fire,” fragrant and tender, harpsichorded like the best of their ballads, but biting too with a passion that even Jagger-Richard never imagined; the Troggs’ “Cousin Jane,” stately and eccentric, a garage band covered with chintz-colored kisses, while skeletal piano dares you to dance. Jacqueline’s keyboards spin and swirl, her voice soars and sinks… Second Hand’s “A Fairy Tale” lives up its title with dreaming spires reaching beyond the sky, while dark guitar reminds you of the underbelly beneath; and Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown” has never seemed so sultry.
If the covers are the album’s easiest point of entry, at least for listeners who like to have at least a suggestion of what’s in store, Jacqueline’s originals come even closer to perfection – acid folk dancing in the arms of psyched out somber froth, precisely the kind of mood you imagine you’ll create when you make a mix tape of your top ten favorite oldies, but which never quite catches the breeze.
Autumn days, bonfire nights, a beauty with just enough beast within to make you huddle closer to the firelight, but you always leave one hand hanging free, just in case she wants to grab it. That is Sun Arise and if my initial response is to regret that it’s only available for now on CD, a newly-launched Kickstarter campaign would appear to agree. Pledges of varying amounts allow you fresh access to the magic, and a colored vinyl gatefold LP is the gold at the end of the rainbow.
This sun will be rising for a long time to come.
Broken Hearted Toy
Singer-keyboards player Crystal Jacqueline was already an active player in Britain’s prog rock/psychedelic scene before releasing her new solo effort, Sun Arise. She’s a founding member of the band The Honey Pot and she joined forces with musician Mordecai Smythe and radio personality/vocalist Marrs Bonfire to record obscure 1960s cover versions under the name, The Green Question Mark. A few of the songs on Sun Arise were previously released as a 45 on the all-vinyl label, Fruits de Mer.
Throughout Sun Arise, Crystal Jacqueline avoids prog rock over-synthesized cliches in favor of more inventive arrangements. On energetic songs like “A Fairy Tale,” originally recorded by Second Hand, and “Dream I,” she seems to command the elements of the universe to swirl around her as she spins tales via her atmospheric keyboards and vocals. On “By The Way” she blends piano and layered vocals in a medieval arrangement that’s both ominous and romantic. The melodic “I Break” is also steeped in Old World folk music. The title track opens with hypnotic chanting before introducing a boogie guitar sound reminiscent of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky.”
Crystal Jacqueline puts her own stamp on the The Troggs’ “Cousin Jane” and The Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire,” and reinvents Gordon Lightfoot’s easy-going “Sundown” with a spare, techno approach.
The most contemporary sounding offering from this month's selection, "A Fairy Tale" is made up of three sixties covers, twisted into unfamiliar shapes with the help of fellow Honey Pot member Icarus Peel.
The Trogg's "Cousin Jane" is given a sparse, skeletal arrangement that hints at This Mortal Coil, while Second Hand's "A Fairytale" goes the rave-up route with lashings of organ, harpsichord, slashing guitars and I'm pretty sure I heard a kitchen sink somewhere in there too.
Best of all is "Play With Fire", transformed from it's already moody baroque-pop beginnings, into something even darker with a hypnotic, cascading guitar lick threatening to pull you down into a paranoid filled abyss. In the best possible way, of course.
House of Prog
Vocalist and musician Crystal JACQUELINE is usually a member of The Honey Pot, but have started venturing out on her own these days as well. One of her first solo excursions is released now in August 2013 by specialist UK label Fruits de Mer Records, sporting three cover versions of songs that first were made famous by others issued on a good, old-fashioned vinyl single.
The Troggs Cousin Jane is first up, in this take a frail musical journey with a slow piano motif, occasional symphonic inspired backdrops and odd but effective rhythm effects supporting the sensual, longing lead vocals that might just make this version of the song a lesbian anthem. Second Hand’s A Fairy Tale is a more elaborate construction, alternating between a classic psychedelic sound of darker toned guitar riffs combined with organ garage rock style with lighter toned, richly layered themes sporting gentle guitars and symphonic backdrops of a Mellotron inspired quality as the main features, elements from these two contrasting movements combining in different arrangements towards the end. Calm, controlled lead vocals by Jacqueline on this song, which suits this take perfectly. Rolling Stone’s Play With Fire isn’t known as their most energetic creation, but this frail version of it with careful harpsichord and nervously reverberating light toned lead motif by the guitar is perhaps the most tender version of this song yet. Neat and gentle psychedelic guitar solo details makes occasional appearances throughout, and with lead vocals of a toned down, emotionally edged variety there’s tension by the truckload here too. A splendid take on a classic song.
If Crystal Jacqueline’s apparently forthcoming full length debut album manage to maintain the quality of this three track single, then she’s got all the musical elements she needs for a career going. A highly intriguing production by an artist that at least for me is a new acquaintance.
This three-track 7” EP is the first Crystal Jacqueline release on Fruits de Mer and this lovely-voiced lady is skillfully assisted by another The Honey Pot band member Icarus Peel. First we’ve got the rather peaceful and small-scale cover of The Troggs song “Cousin Jane”. There’s some nice orchestration on this one. Things get much more interesting with the energetic, driving rendition of “A Fairy Tale” by Second Hand originally released in 1968. This is just marvelous 60’s freakbeat stuff! A nice guitar solo as well. Excellent! The third song is the dark, hunting The Rolling Stones B-side “Play with Fire” that I also enjoy very much. This is a very deep and emotional version that should please all psych and Stones fans. This 7” definitely makes me want to more stuff by Crystal Jacqueline. Check it out!
Crystal Jacqueline’s debut album on Mega Dodo, “Sun Arise” mixes classic pop-psych with new on her enjoyable long player. Building on her work with neo-psych group The Honey Pot and success of her recent Fruits de Mer EP, album opener “Sun Arise” branches into proggier territory mixed with glam stomping guitar. We then hear EP duo Second Hand’s “A Fairy Tale” weaving I Can’t Explain mod-freakbeat then the Stones “Play With Fire” played darker than the baroque original. All the tracks highlight her excellent vocals with a new dimension brought to some of the male led originals, like the now even creepier “Cousin Jane” (originally by The Troggs). Despite blending originals with new material “Sun Arise” works as a whole album, with other stand-outs include the romantic melancholia of “Who Do You Love” and “By The Way”.“Sun Down” rounds off this delightful record with more mellotron sounds and exquisite harmonies with another warning to its female protagonist. For a refreshing approach to the UK psych scene do give check out Crystal Jacqueline’s “Sun Arise”.
Terry Flamm Broken Hearted Toy
Crystal Jacqueline has been keeping busy within England’s psychedelic music scene; performing with The Green Question Mark (which also includes Mordecai Smythe) and The Honey Pot. (See January 30, and February 2013, respectively, in Archives.) This three-track single finds her working with Icarus Peel, from both of the previously mentioned bands. The eclectic choice of covers on “A Fairy Tale” ranges from the well known to the obscure, but she gives each song an authentic late 1960s feel.
“Cousin Jane,” originally recorded by The Troggs on their Trogglodynamite album, is one of those songs where a creepy underworld lurks beneath deceptively simple lyrics. Crystal Jacqueline gives it an ominous piano, synth, and strings arrangement that’s fairly similar to the original. Virtually no one in the States has heard of Second Hand, but Crystal Jacqueline does the English group’s 1960s gem “A Fairy Tale” proud with a swirling, high octane mix of psychedelic and garage rock. She doesn’t bother to flip the genders on The Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire,” but her bewitching vocals and haunting keyboards suggest there might be other-worldly consequences if you did try to cross her.
Ever since I discovered Crystal Jacqueline from her two Fruits de Mer releases, I have been fascinated and trying to fully grasp what she is doing musically. With the release of her debut album I have now concluded that she has created something new, what I will call Gothic psych. You only got a taste of this on her debut 7-inch single, all three songs are included on the album (“Cousin Jane,” “A Fairy Tale,” and “Play with Fire”). In addition there are seven songs penned by Icarus Peel, fellow Honey Pot band mate, and two other cover tunes that will surprise you: “Fly a Kite” from the Disney movie Mary Poppins and the album closer, Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown.” Many of these cover songs I would normally consider to be upbeat and cheerful. But Crystal’s beautiful voice and singing lends a sinister ambiance to the psychedelic and otherwise trippy music. I did not understand this when I listened to Crystal’s recent double 7-inch on FdM, which put me a little off on her renditions of “White Rabbit” and “I Had Too Much to Dream.” Now that I can listen to her cover tunes in context with her other songs, I can truly understand and appreciate what she is doing. As the FdM releases are all limited editions that sell out quickly, I highly recommend that anyone interested should by all means get a copy of Sun Arise. This album is available both as a CD and a juicy slab of bright yellow vinyl in a gatefold sleeve.
New Underground Music
Crystal Jacqueline was in Wiltshire, England born and developed at an early age her talent and love for music.
She regularly performed in and around Bath, which her praise and a valuable experience constituted and later moved to the south of the country, where she played in several bands, which occurred at home and abroad.
She lives in Devon with her pig, cats, geese and her partner Icarus Peel, with whom she plays in the band The Honey Pot.
In 2010, she released her debut solo album "Heal Yourself" by Psyche Dandy Records and in 2012 released her first album, The Honey Pot, entitled "To The Edge Of The World" on the Mega Dodo label.
In November 2012 she recorded the EP "A Fairy Tale" by showing three covers: "Cousin Jane" (Troggs), "A Fairy Tale" (Second Hand), "Play With Fire" (Rolling Stones) by The Fruits Mer Records was released.
Her new LP called "Sun Arise" and in 2013 by the Mega Dodo Records label appeared on the market and contains 16 songs, including songs from the EP "A Fairy Tale".
The album starts with the title song "Sun Arise", which I hear a fantastic psychedelic pop song that has a nice hypnotic rhythm and blues has slight influences.
"Sun Arise" Crystal Jacqueline is filled with brilliant light psychedelic pop songs, I've enjoyed it to the fullest and I can recommend this LP wholeheartedly to anyone who loves this type of music.