Sound — 10
This album is not what I thought it would be upon picking it up and having heard Allan Holdsworth's later material, it absolutely shocked me but I wasn't disappointing though even though I expected more hard rock with jazz fusion on here it's still jazz fusion with progressive rock, but more softer that silky smooth music is still raging underneath though with just as much vigor as I expected with soft melodies of psychedelic jazz encompassing here. This is unfortunately the only album that would ever be released by this short lived group and they would have vanished most likely if it weren't for the featuring of Allan Holdsworth, even though they were a tight knit they just wouldn't have made it as some others have suffered too with harder rock coming into popularity. This would be a similar effort as "The Cheerful Insanity of Giles Giles and Fripp" but in a more adventurous and psychedelic and pensive piece but similar in the usage of jazz and leaning towards the highly influential genre with both albums starting the career of highly underrated and brilliant jazz fusion guitarists (probably a coupe of the greatest ever, but go unrecognized like even Frank Zappa would be or highly overlooked at the minimum). Dave Freeman would be the second member besides Holdsworth to really emerge from the rest although they were all tight musicians. Freeman would have various desultory moments of thrilling solos of such consistency while maintaining a high rapidity.
Lyrics — 9
The only track on here that is not an original group composition ("California Dreamin' Written by John Phillips") is a munificent display of original style added to completely change a song into something that became the group's own. Holdsworth would contribute most of the songwriting on here next to bassist Mick Skelly who was on bass, the whole group would chip in to make the song "Out of Conclusion."
"The Castle" starts off with the mellow but complex noodling that would arrive then goes into the magical vocals and smooth jazz groove with some floating ambiguous lyrics and the insane amount of minute playing flying across the fretboard is where I begin really love the album with soft interludes building intensity for smooth jazz drum rolls. "Out of Confusion" shows that Steve Robinson was an established guitarist, both him and Holdsworth were good but Holdsworth takes the main leads but they're able to do some bits in sync that are just amazing with the whole binary in sync guitar work that seems impossible. "California Dreamin'" is a more depressive and all instrumental as most of the tracks mainly focus more on instrumentals as it's all built around the structure of composing pieces that make way for the tremendous amount of admirable and tenacious guitar work. "The Witch" has great polished flawless vocals over mellow tones then goes into what the whole aim of the album is for with Holdsworth making his way around high speed notes and Steve Robinson always there to have his back with additional rhythms and his own little noodling bits. "Sweet Dry Biscuits" really has some impossibly fast progressions in all aspects but it's still smooth to follow but almost all the tracks have this same complex manner with some marvelous drum fills and overall constant endless insane amount of high speed fretwork and original chords. Of course Allan's guitar playing is simply marvelous, but the surprising element is his vocal performance, which is low key and suitable for this kind of Jazz oriented music. The material is experimental and interesting, shunning every cliches and convention.
Overall Impression — 10
In an era of Marshall stacks and Big Muffs with bands like the Jimi Hendrix Experience raging and newly forming hard rock acts, Holdsworth and fellow Igginbottom guitarist Steven Robinson favored intelligently-arranged tone clusters performed with no amp distortion and the treble rolled off in a beautiful subtle calm psychedelic manner. At times, as in Sweet Dry Biscuits, they sound like Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band if Sun Ra had been leading the group instead of Don Van Vliet. The revelation this reissue reveals is quite remarkable, Allan Holdsworth patently emerged from the womb with his unreasonable talent fully formed. A mere age of twenty-one in 1969, he was already capable of unleashing those dazzling note flurries of dancing fluency that still make fellow guitarists lob their Les Pauls into the Thames. The second revelation is that he had a wonderfully appealing singing voice while playing such amazing guitar progressions, his voice almost sounding like a younger version Chet Baker who had one of the smoothest and most angelic jazz vocals of all time, Holdsworth's singing can almost come close to that on here with furious but subtle playing to match. The band name may have led audiences to expect a brutalist combination in the Stackwaddy vein; nothing could have prepared them for the preoccupied, jazzy insularity and pin-drop quietude of "Igginbottom's Wrench" which is one of the highest points of this album making way for some of the best jazz rock soloing and music that dabbles more on the intellectual jazz side all done in finesse with late night moody atmospherics crossed with prog jazz.