The press release for You’re Never Alone With a Cigarette uses the term “ethno freakout”—and it couldn’t be more appropriate. For the uninitiated, the Sun City Girls are a splatter-rock band, best-known for its Mothers of Invention-affected avant-jams, best exhibited on their 1990 album Torch of the Mystics. Following the death of drummer Charlie Gocher last year, the band—under their own Abduction label—decided to revisit the past with this collection of demos and rarities from the Mystics sessions. Unfortunately for the band, there was a reason why these songs didn’t make the original recording: with sprawling, directionless 12-minute epics (“The Fine-Tuned Machines of Lemuria”) and jam sessions where it seems that every musician is doing their own thing without regard to the others (“Plaster Cupids Falling From the Ceiling”), Cigarette is a grating, difficult listening experience. Unsurprisingly, the songs that actually have structures (“Wild World of Animals”, “The Beauty of Benghazi”) prove to the best showcases for the bands fantastic instrumental ability. The rest? Worth leaving Alone.
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