Coffee Sergeants The Blessing House
Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., Feb. 4, 2000
The Blessing HouseThose of us who are refugees from the Sixties will feel a certain affinity for the Coffee Sergeants if for no other reason than the longtime local band's dead-on re-creation of the dreamy soundscapes that characterized much of that decade's "underground" musical ambiance. Known to take long periods of hiatus between cycles of recordings and live performances, the group's new project, their second CD, retains the Coffee Sergeants' penchant for gentle, trance-like psychedelia with billowy layers of guitars and keyboards. Taking a cue from early Pink Floyd, but also reminiscent of the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and White Album-era Beatles, the Sergeants seem content to float along at their own leisurely pace as if they were just released from a time capsule and were exploring the 21st century with the wide-eyed wonderment of an Age of Aquarius flower child. Ironically perhaps, Carey Bowman's trippy lyrics often put voice to a dark world of understated angst, alienation, and lost opportunities. While Bowman's delivery melds perfectly into the texture of the music, his words too often get swallowed up within the waves of sound being generated by the band. That sound, while dominated by the aforementioned layering of guitars, acoustic and electric, owes much to Mike Barnett's adept use of various keyboards, particularly the organ, in creating cumulus cushions of color, both dark and bright. The Coffee Sergeants may be a throwback to another era, but that hasn't prevented them from garnering a dedicated following nor from producing a "far out" album.