This is the debut full-length by the Lisbon-based psych folk band Beautify Junkyards who have previously released some excellent stuff on Fruits de Mer. The band started in 2012 when members of various Portuguese bands decided to retreat from city life to do some outdoor recording sessions in the countryside. The results have been astounding. All the nine songs on this vinyl/CD album are interpretations of tracks from the late 60s and early 70s, some more known and some rather underground stuff. The songs are very carefully selected and the band does a wonderful job on all of them.
Their version of “Rose Hip November” (originally by Vashti Bunyan) is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve heard for a while. It just has very fragile, melancholic male vocals, synth and acoustic guitars plus a little bit of backing vocals and some tender rhythm. Amazing! Nick Drake’s “From the Morning” has a bit more positive vibe and again the performance is perfect in every way. This was already released on the Beautify Junkyards 7” on Fruits de Mer. The flow of the album is just perfect, and next we get an exquisite, magical folk version of Kraftwerk’s “Radioactivity”. I’m on goose bumps here! “Fuga No 2” originally by Os Mutantes from Brazil has wonderful female vocals in Portuguese and has been released as the B side to the Fruits de Mer 7”. A very nice song, anyway! Next they give us “Ask Me No Questions” (Bridget St John) and I don’t think I have heard the original. The excellent female vocals have some Nico vibe. The track order is a bit different on the CD and vinyl. “Yellow Roses” is acoustic guitar driven, lovely piece with male vocals originally by Heron and this is the first version that I’ve heard. Lovely. Then they cover some Roy Harper: “Another Day” and they do that well. Another song that I was not previously familiar with is the spell-bounding “Parallelograms” (by Linda Perhacs). The album is finished with Donovan’s “Song for the Naturalist’s Wife” that, like the previous song, has both femme and male vocals. What a nice way to finish off this excellent release! The album is distributed through Clear Spot so it should be quite easy to get in Europe at least. Warmly recommended for all fans of beautiful, emotional psych folk!