[14 November 2011]
If you couldn’t tell from their whimsical album title or cover artwork (a psychedelic photo of a blooming garden in front of a country cottage), the dozen confident, Britfolk/psych tunes on the Story UK’s third album, Joy Ride on Memory Lane, will lead you to believe that father-son duo of Martin and Tom Welham have probably each worn through multiple copies of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and definitely have near-encyclopedic knowledge of the genre.
Of course, it helps that Martin was the frontman for late-‘60s UK psych folk trio Forest and actually is a contemporary of Syd Barrett. Plugging back in after 2007’s acoustic “improvised song-cycle” Arcane Rising, Joy Ride hits all the psych folk bases: Friendly acoustic guitar jangle? Homilies like “the light that you shine is all you’ll ever need” (“Standing in the Rain”)? A wistful eye turned toward the late ‘60s (“Sixty Eight”)? Pan flutes? Check, check, check and check. Too, unlike their madman hero Barrett, the Welhams (who trade off vocals) are clear-eyed and eager to explore self-discovery (“Magic Lantern”) and self-empowerment (“For the Good of Your Soul”). British psych/folk may not be the hippest of genres to revisit but in these guys’ hands, it’s utterly charming.