Crystal Syphon “Family Evil”

America’s great lost acid rock band.  Who knew California band Crystal Syphon had an album’s worth of material sitting in the can waiting to be heard by 60s psych rock fans?  This has to be not only one of the best reissues of 2012 but also one of the best archival classic rock discoveries of the year.

Crystal Syphon’s origins can be traced back to the Morlochs, a garage band who formed in 1965 and hailed from the San Joaquin Valley area.  As the years went by (and after several personnel changes) the Morlochs changed their name to Crystal Syphon.  Crystal Syphon played the S.F. live circuit with some of the era’s biggest names while the major labels expressed serious interest in this promising, up-and-coming group.  As the 60′s passed into the 70′s, no album or single appeared and the group members moved on to other projects, effectively putting an end to Crystal Syphon. Roaratorio did a superb job in assembling this excellent LP (vinyl only release), which was cobbled together from studio sessions, demos and live shows.  It’s arguably a fuller picture then any studio LP could give the listener, as all sides of the band are on full display, whether it be in the studio or on the live stage.

Does the music live up to the hype? You bet. The earliest tracks have a rawer sound than the later material, which is clearly influenced by big time S.F. bands Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.  ”In My Mind,” recorded in 1968, sounds like a lost outtake from the first Quicksilver album.  The deep vocals and vibrating guitar tones strongly recall the mighty Quicksilver Messenger Service.  No matter, it’s an excellent track that could have easily made any psych compilation you care to name.  ”Marcy, Your Eyes” and “Paradise” two of the earliest cuts from 1967, have thick garage fuzz, naive teen vocals, and cascading acid guitar work – outstanding.  The last 15 seconds of “Paradise” are especially great.  The guitarist starts playing eastern scales and just when you think they are about to explode into the most intense raga solo you’ve ever heard the song ends – what a clever trick!  Other highlights are the menacing acid rock of “Fuzzy and Jose,” “Family Evil” and “Winter Is Cold.”  These cuts are longer, slow paced and closer in sound to Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service – lots of acid guitar work, creative arrangements and spacey vocals.  ”Try Something Different” is another earlier cut with a lilting folk-rock sound that recalls Buffalo Springfield in it’s guitar figures.

Every cut on Family Evil is worthwhile.  There’s nearly 50 minutes of great psych rock here – so not only a significant discovery but an absolute must own for any 60s rock fan.

mp3: Paradise
mp3: In My Mind

:) Reissue |2012 | Roaratorio | buy from roaratorio ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

 


Also Recommended

4 Comments.

  • Thank you for the great review!! The band has been working on a live show and we will keep everyone posted as to the progress. Stay fuzzy!!

  • This is some good stuff, I have found some great bands through this site. Nice review!

  • Just wanted to let the readers of this awesome site know that we played a show together for the first time in 40+ years back in March. Hopefully it is okay to post this, but we have two live videos up on YouTube from that performance. Family Evil and Try Something Different are there for viewing and listening pleasure!! Thanks, again for the good props.

  • One of the great achievements nowadays is that it helps investigation. We did not have the means at the time. I remember I called one of the members from the Rising Storm from the ad agency I worked for clandestinely (as it was awfully expensive then) sometime in the nineteeneighties. And the Rising Storm album was something you needed to have, really. Even in Germany. And now: a new world opens up. Groups appear you hever heard of before. We listen to streams on internet radio and get to ear crystal syphon for instance. I just wanted to let you know that we are still into the sounds of yesterday (and their heirs of today). Many greetings from Germany from Brigitte and Chris

Leave a Comment