May 7, 2008

Sylvia Juncosa - One Thing (1988)

Sylvia Juncosa is the kind of rock persona that Courtney Love has spent her entire career trying to become. (from ask the guru site)

This sure was meant as a high praise for Sylvia Juncosa, although I think that the mention of Courtney Love doesn't add much to Sylvia's fame. Besides that, it's only half truth: it's truth that Juncosa was (and it seems that still is) more rocking that C.L. could ever imagine, but Courney Love never spent much time to be a true rock artist as very soon left the West Coast small venues for Hollywood and the seek of fame, while Sylvia was in the 80s -early 90s on an 10-year journey, following only her soul.

Starting as the keyboard player for the early Leaving Trains with Falling James (Love's ex-husband - we meet her once again!), briefly with Clay Alison, to become very soon a high-praised guitar player with her band To Damascus and as a member of SWA and then doing solo stuff, with several Europe tours, Sylvia surely never sacrifice her independence and her artistic freedom just to be an established artist.
Every time she felt that what she was doing was not herself anymore, she has not hesitated to move on. Even if this is a sure way to never make an audience, Sylvia at the early 90s was regarded as one of the most respectable underground artists - at least in Europe.
After a decade of countless shows and only a few full releases, Sylvia suddenly vanished from music. More than 15 years later we've found out (from her site) that she's working as a computer programmer (another rock artist working with computers!) and she continues to surf and travel.
Very brief discography (visit her site for more): 2 LPs with To Damascus, 1 as guitarist of SWA, 3 full LPs and 1 mLP under her own name.

About this album
Sylvia described her music as "psychedelic hard rock" and that's what it is - for the best part of this record. It's an never ending flight over an acid sea, with a few stops to take a breath and then it starts climbing again.
That is particularly true for "Alhambra Monrovia" or the trippy solos and the vibrating chords of "Demon". The melody lines throughout the record are quite odd - they're not at all the average rock chords you might expect (listen to "The System" for example). Elsewhere Sylvia gets really tough (like in "One In Three" who opens the album, with her merciless riffs), and for a moment she mellows ("Under The Freeway" - but listen to the lyrics of this). Listening to "Want It Bad" I think that this the closer she gets to blues (don't think of anything traditional - more like Cream-in-the-80s).
I think I've seen some review comparing the sound of Sylvia's guitar with Anonymous - I have to agree with this. I might add that it's the absolute acid West Coast guitar over rhythms brought by the 80s punk. You've never heard something quite like it until now and you may never hear it again - unless Sylvia decide to return.

And it seems, you're free
You made your life
What you wanted it to be
(from Love Crash)

No d/l link for this great album.
But if you go here you might find something ;-)

1 comment:

Heavy C said...

I have been listening to this album alot recently.. it is probably one of the wierdest "shred" guitar albums ever made.. and not wierd like Buckethead, who will just play superfast nonsense.. It is like Satch mixed with some acid-folk. Notice that there are no real "riffs" here-- but wierd melodic passages.. like, most of these songs sounded like they started out as some beach-side acoustic ramblings, and transformed in the studio with layers of roaring marshall-stacked guitars. heavy as hell.