"Time Of The Signs"

The Riddling Reavers

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"Time Of The Signs"

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The musical and literary union of two childhood friends from London, England, The Riddling Reavers (c.1999-2000) were a studio psychedelic folk outfit occupying a central place in the renaissance of psychedelic folk, and no kidding. The 'Reavers are best known for deploying a harmless arsenal of fourteen genre-defying broadsides and vagabond ballads in their 1999 sonic war against convention and reason, Time of the Signs. Using a production style that can be best described as 'accidental', they haphazardly fashioned an untidy-student-bedroom meisterwerk that perfectly captures the ambienza of two rat-race drop-outs coming up on LSD in a small southern French wine village. Riffing on cheerfully pretentious themes of random, chance, luck, gypsies, tinkers, simpletons, children, fantasy, Macbeth, jesters, adventure, the occult, music, spontaneity, heartbreak, journeys, place, time, signs, and headwear, they nonetheless manage to impregnate their sound with the colour and warmth that is achievable only through genuine, naive joy in musical creation. Woven through the songs, a madcap-don Small-Faces-influenced voiceover harks to hidden worlds of trickster spirits; the sound of the village 'Allo Allo melts into a medieval Cathar Madrigal. Here, the giggling rancour of a surreal situationist party, where Louis Armstrong turns up eyes bulging, tripping, barely holding on; there, Simon and Garfunkel morph into a pair of gentle cockney elves whilst Van Morrison flamenco-doodles in the armchair in the corner and Squarepusher, visiting for the weekend, makes mushroom tea on the woodstove. Here, a town full of metalworkers bang pots in perfect unison, like some romantic fable of socialist harmony; there, touches of sampling, ska and dub pick up on the soundscape of the indigenous teen; and like the twelfth night, assumptions are rendered topsy-turvy; acoustic guitars groan with the weight of all time while basslines scamper around like unhousetrained puppies. The songs are mixed it would sometime seem on the roll of a die, but there is shimmering sunlight flickering on the lapping river surface of this record, magic and loss, mythology and vision. If this is not genius, we don't know what is.

Oli Hudson, a reaver, 2009
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