If I could say one thing about Kev Ellis’s solo album, Space Cadet, to sum it up and tell you what it’s all about, then I’d tell you it’s fun. I’d also tell you that if you want it on CD then get along and order one pronto because it’s been pressed as 100 signed and numbered copies and after that it’s in download format only, but mainly I’d tell you that it’s fun. And perhaps that’s what I sometimes forget as a blogger or a commentator of space-rock, because I can get all serious about it, invoking the myths and legend, the references, allusions and inspirations and lose sight of the basic fact that we’re supposed to be enjoying ourselves with music that is ‘out there’, that’s wild and wacky as well as serious and moving, so it’s good that records like this come along and remind me that at the end of the day, well, let’s just enjoy it, really.
This record is just Kev, aside from some guitar on the opening track by Grunty McNaughton, but readers will of course know him from multiple musical alliances, notably Dr Brown, for whom Huw Lloyd-Langton filled-in with back in the day, or with the much-missed Judge Trev as Kev & Trev, or as part of Bubbledubble, or for his guest appearance on the Sprits Burning Alien Injection album, or for one of many other instances. But out on his own for this one, the sense I get of this record is of someone having a ball making his kind of space-rock, where it rocks along very nicely, stopping to become reflective and thoughtful now and then but never losing sight of wanting to rock-on and just celebrate making music.
Here’s a case in point: ‘Sunrise Pagan Bop’, a glam rock styling with a bloody great smile on its face and a sing-along sense that does the business and should have been a Top 10 single in, oh, 1973 probably – absolutely bloody fabulous. But what he’s really doing across this record, with all of us Space Cadets in mind, no doubt, is just throwing all the elements of space-rock into a great cauldron, mixing it up all and seeing what comes out, like he’s dashing around making sure he’s got it all in there: Wobbly windy noises threading through a song? Check! Elongated chanting and droning with Krautrock minimalism? Check! Tongue-in-cheek punk-surf-spoof? Check! Gentle spacey ruminations? Check! It’s all here!
So I really liked the short and snappy and full of joy ‘Super Cosmic Space Age Baby’, but I also loved the does exactly what it says in the title ‘Time Reflection’, and I celebrated along with the festivalized ‘Celebrate The Day’ even while I heard its sense of outrage as well as its sense of freeness, and I enjoyed the New Age sparseness in ‘Resting Heart’… and in the end I just simply enjoyed this record, which sounds under-produced and basic, and which is properly good because of that in a way, and which just has a love of music, and of our musical genre, rippling through it.