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Simply Saucer

If you're a serious afficionado of underground rock music history, hearing Simply Saucer for the first time borders on the miraculous, perhaps just a notch down from Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Their music was the offspring of the dense, abrasive, streetwise proto-punk of The Stooges' Funhouse and The Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat, the proto-metal crunch of The Kinks at their very loudest, the moody and ethereal intricacy of early Pink Floyd, and the huge, hypnotic electronics-laden grooves of Can. They also added a brilliant sci-fi element, offering lyrics about cyborgs and metalloid bodies while making ample use of the theremin and loopy sound generators -- in addition to their potent dual guitar attack and ferocious runaway rhythm section.

It seems impossible that such a well-executed combination of rock primitivism and arty aspiration could pass so completely under the radar, but that's just what happened with Simply Saucer, who conducted wild experimental/psych freakout sessions from 1974 until 1978 to almost no acclaim outside of their native town of Hamilton, an industrial city south of Toronto. Their locale no doubt contributed to their obscurity, especially since they rarely played live outside Ontario, and never outside Canada. That goofy name -- based on Floyd's Saucerful of Secrets and the U.K. band Just Us -- probably didn't help matters much either. The biggest problem though, was that they left behind almost no recorded output -- only the 1978 "She's a Dog" b/w "I Can Change My Mind" single.

Fortunately for us, that changed in 1989 when a tiny, now defunct Hamilton label called Mole Records issued Cyborgs Revisited, featuring nine Saucer songs culled from a July 1974 recording session (which took place in the basement studio of brothers Robert and Daniel Lanois, who would go on to become acclaimed producers) and a June 1975 live performance. While the band was largely ignored during its career, the release of this record a decade after their breakup elicited wild praise, with Forced Exposure calling it "the best Canadian LP ever." Now out of print, it is a rather expensive collector's item. Happily, in May 2003 a newer Hamilton independent label called Sonic Unyon Recordings released a remastered and expanded version of the album, adding the "Dog" single along with seven performance tracks recorded in late '77 and early '78 which futher demonstrate how totally smoking the band's live show was.

Those who fall under the spell of the Saucer will be glad to learn that the band's charismatic vocalist/guitarist/theremin player Edgar Breau has continued to write and record music ever since Simply Saucer's breakup. He currently fronts an acoustic-oriented group called The Shadows of Ecstasy which also features former Saucer bassist Kevin Christoff.

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