Review: Sergeant Thunderhoof / Tony Reed ‘Beyond The Pale: Volume One’

In a unique concept Pale Wizard Records have embarked on a series of releases under the banner of Beyond The Pale. The premise is to take a classic artist and reimagine it using another, contemporary artist not readily associated with the style. In Volume One, Bath’s premier psychedelic, stoner rock aficionados Sergeant Thunderhoof slug it out on a double A side with guitarist and vocalist Tony Reed from US heavy rock titans Mos Generator to pay respectful homage to the incredibly talented and eclectic singer/songwriter Kate Bush.

Sergeant Thunderhoof / Tony Reed ‘Beyond The Pale: Volume One’

First up Sergeant Thunderhoof take a crack at Cloudbursting from Bush’s top ten 1985 album Hounds Of Love. The quirky and revered track with its eccentric video spawned my favourite YouTube comment of ‘This reminds me of my dad. He didn’t make a weather machine or anything, he just grew weed in the 90’s. SWAT thought it was important tho’ and is deeply regarded by fans of the British singer, some of whom have embraced or been left confused online by the cover.

However, recorded during lockdown in the UK earlier this year, the band have taken the staccato strings and sharp off kilter sounds mixed with 80s electronic and morphed it into something stunning and powerful in its own right.

Drenched in fuzzed out drone, they turn this into a majestic, epic sounding rocker. The swirling psychedelia is like Cathedral making sweet love to Pallbearer as Dan Filcroft’s melodic, rich vocals soar over the music and the icing on the cake is the spine tingling, beautiful solo curtesy of guitarist Mark Sayer. For me this is right up there with some of my favourite reimagining’s, like The Cure’s take on Purple Haze as they take the light pop track and breathe robust, but dark tones into it and open a whole new way of looking at the original.

Each side brings something unexpected to the table and are awesome in their own right…

Tony Reed then takes centre stage to tackle the avant-garde and extremely complex Sat In Your Lap from Bush’s 1982 album The Dreaming. No easy challenge, given that the originals piano driven schizophrenia couldn’t be further from the safe music than bothers the upper reaches of the charts today.

Switching the keyboard sound up for rhythmic drums and delicate guitar, runs Reed shows off his musical chops as his version doesn’t lose the bug eyed madness of the source material, but somehow morphs this into something that could sound like Queen stripped of all the pomp and bombast. Here Sat In Your Lap remains urgent, despite the more soothing nature of the vocals, and Reed uses the music to show off how he’s taken the most unconventional of tracks, beefed it up, yet paid homage and great reverence whilst trying to strike a different tone. Whether you love the Kate Bush original or not, you have to give credit to Reed, for not only tackling this track, but making an incredible job of it as well.

You could pick your favourite from the two tracks, but I’m not going to. Each side brings something unexpected to the table and are awesome in their own right, which will hopefully get more eyes on the bands contributing, not to mention that in addition to this rare release, they’re available in multiple varieties of beautiful coloured vinyl. I don’t know where Pale WizardRecords plan on going next with this series, but as an opening salvo, they’ve set the bar incredibly high.

Label: Pale Wizard Records
Sergeant Thunderhoof: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram
Tony Reed: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden