Broken Lamps : Metropolis

Eric Bowr is something of a maestro of the studio. His albums as Broken Lamps are meticulously recorded, arranged, and performed time machines that take you back to the mid-to-late 60s. A kaleidoscopic sound of groovy psychedelia, Giallo drama, and exploitation library music that brings back the golden age of Euro melodrama. Bowr performs, engineers, and produces all you hear, which is absolutely stunning. Horn arrangements, keys, synths, guitars, bass, drums, and all the organs you need are patiently arranged and placed into these time machines of tracks by Bowr in a studio that I’d feel too disheveled to even glance in. He’s a classic golden age music producer/arranger, the kind that would’ve been employed by Columbia Records in the 50s putting out what we would consider standards today.

On the latest Broken Lamps long player titled Metropolis, Bowr moves the vibes from the Italian countrysides and Vespa chases on cobble-stoned streets of Kaleidoscope to late 60s London for some groovy psychedelia and far out surf music vibes. It’s yet another showcase of Eric Bowr’s talent as musician/composer/arranger/producer and general idea man in the studio.

Where last time around cats like Bruno Nicolai and Piero Umiliani were heavily regarded, Metropolis hits up the spirit of Henry Mancini and British music libraries like KPM, Chappell and De Wolfe. There’s plenty of wah wah guitar, pre-disco grooves, and brass that’ll knock you thru the back wall, and a Mini Cooper for every groovy guy and gal to listen to them in.

“Phantom Fire Weapon” has lots of 60s bling and blang and it has the farfisa organ to prove it. The jangle of the surf guitar is complimented by the tasty brass section. At times it reminds me that old Playstation game Jet Moto with the surf vibes, but it never goes full “cowabunga”, keeping firmly planted on the streets of London. “Lord of the Bronx” takes the red eye to Bronx, New York for some serious urban strut. You can almost feel the wah wah guitar in this. And “Escape From Butcher Beach” is like a cross between a slasher movie and Endless Summer. If you could somehow combine Dick Dale, Henry Mancini, and Harry Manfredini into one explosive composer/producer they’d make this track.

Elsewhere there’s the pre-disco melodrama of “Private Dreams” with some serious Bill Conti vibes. “Reflections” is sweet and sad and has sort of a psychedelic Burt Bacharach feel. “Freakbeat Theatre” sounds like a serious happening. An invitation to get weird and lose your mind in the music.

Metropolis is another groovy drive through the world of mid-to-late 60s library music courtesy of Broken Lamps and Eric Bowr. Meticulously created, it’s an invitation to get lost in another place and time. Spies, happenings, groovy chicks, and surfing bros all exist in the world of Metropolis. Drop the needle and join them.

Metropolis is available now. Grab a copy here from Electric Nerve. 

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