07 May 2020

MARK MCDOWELL AND FRIENDS – Breakthrough (2020, LP/CD Self-released, Friends Of The Fish 36)




Label: Self-released, Friends Of The Fish 36

Format: LP, Album, Limited Edition, Blue Transparent Vinyl

Format: CD, Album, Limited Edition, Heavy Card Sleeve with colored paper inner, vinyl style CD and Lyric booklet

Release Date: 3 April 2020


Mark McDowell along with his “Friends” is back with a new album after 2017’s “Dark Weave”. It is self-released but with the full-support of FdM Records (hence the number 36 of “Friends of the Fish” FdM series). Mark McDowell & Friends are a psych-folk collective from Bristol performing jangly garage-folk, spooked out ballads & hypnotic drone-based improvisations. The Bandcamp press release reads: “Mark McDowell’s 6th studio album is a full band production – recording as Mark McDowell and friends – that builds on the sonic palette of 2017’s acclaimed Dark Weave. The nine tracks encompass free-flowing instrumentals, West-coast sunshine pop, acid folk, and electronica. “Breakthrough” balances themes of uncertainty and euphoria – from life in dystopian living spaces to escape into the haunting beauty of the fields and woods. A celebratory summer festival, the lurking menace of city violence, a hallucinatory road trip, and fears of impending cold war combine in a panorama of 21st Century hopes and fears”…

“Breakthrough” consists of 9 tracks, 4 on the A-side, and 5 on B-side. 9 songs that overflowing of warmness, sweetness, and melody! We have ethereal Pop perfection with an 80s sunny approach on “People Like Us”. Some sweet semi-acoustic balladesque full of nostalgia sounds on “Wedlocked” and “Wedding Song”. Euphoric Pop-Electronica vaccinated with plenty of neo-folk sunshine on “Give The Gods”. The album closes its A-side and opens its B with 2 beautiful instrumentals. The self-titled “Breakthrough” is an incredible electronically flavored Acid-Pop tune with a wondrous folkie medieval feel while “Starstreamer” has a flowing trippy sophisticated folkie-acid-electronica-spacey approach! Both, “Breakthrough” and “Starstreamer” are psychedelically trippy! “Sit 13” shows some West Coast sunny Psych-a-Delia while “First Light” is a soft and smooth poppy folk tune. Lovely… “De Facto (Ode To Arthur Lee)” is obviously dedicated to Love’s mastermind Arthur Lee, a cool balladesque song, transporting the listener to the early days of 1967, inspired by the whole “Forever Changes” aura… Is that a smile there on your face, Arthur? So, in conclusion, no matter what “style” of music this album serves, it’s an album full of “quality” and one of the bests this year, of course! TimeLord Michalis



A1 People Like Us 3:58
A2 Wedlocked 4:29
A3 Give The Gods 4:33
A4 Breakthrough 4:41
B1 Starstreamer 5:17
B2 Sit 13 3:41
B3 First Light 4:34
B4 De facto (Ode To Arthur Lee) 4:53
B5 Wedding Song 3:39



Listen/Buy through Mark McDowell’s Bandcamp:


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