The Ophelias’ LESLIE MEDFORD returns after a lengthy spell away from the studio with this brand new psychedelic delight
Almost 40 years ago, as the San Francisco Bay reverberated with the mainstream sounds of Journey and Huey Lewis & The News, there was a band of young defiant musicians, sure that the city’s past (that ’60s magick that had been colourfully brewed in the Haight) made for a far more interesting pursuit. They called themselves The Ophelias, and over three years released three overlooked LPs of unpredictable, ambitious and kaleidoscopic psychedelic rock that wore its obsession with the likes of The Kinks and Van der Graaf Generator on its sleeve.
Every now and then you’ll hear someone say The Ophelias were the finest ’80s band you’ve never heard of. Trust them and start digging: Bare Bodkin, a comprehensive retrospective released last year on Independent Project Records, is a good place to start.
The story of The Ophelias was short and characterised by frequent line-up changes, the one constant being Leslie Medford, the band’s lynchpin with a love of Shakespeare and out-of-time music.
Now hit fast forward: after long years of musical retirement, Leslie Medford re-emerges from the green of California. He’s found his Muse again. He presents ‘Leslie’s Dream’, a dark psychedelic reverie propelled by a motorik heartbeat and the kind of political rage that addresses past, present and future all at once. That old sense of defiance wasn’t merely musical after all.