Peter Matthew Bauer - 'Liberation!' - Cover- 2014


01. I Was Born in An Ashram
02. Latin American Ficciones
03. Philadelphia Raga
04. Fortune Tellers
05. Shiva the Destroyer
06. Liberation!
07. Scientology Airplane Conversations
08. Istanbul Field Recording
09. Irish Wake In Varanasi (For Big Pete Devlin)
10. Shaved Heads & Pony Tails
11. You Are the Chapel


We were heartbroken phenomenal WALKMEN broke up.  We were happy to hear that it was amicable break up, the guys are all still friends. And now we can rejoice in the impressive solo effort of PETER MATTHEW BAUER. Titled Liberation!, this record is his tribute to 1960s psychedelia and counterculture with an up to date edge.  This is what the sixties would look like through the eyes of millennial who normally filters everything on Instagram: it’s a blend of idealized past and only-sometimes-sunny present.  If you’re a fan of experimental rock, the kind with twangy sitars, stoned melody mandolins, and long meandering solos, then check out what the former WALKMEN bass player has to say. The album was recorded by BAUER, Christopher Colbert and Quentin Stoltzfus (of LIGHT HEAT & and fave 2000s psych rockers MAZARIN) in Philadelphia, PA.  Fitting, because the track that caught our attention was Philadelphia Raga. It starts with simple acoustic guitars motif that overlapping over exotic instruments. You think it’s going to be a tripped out jam more appropriate to the INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, then, two minutes into the song, it morphs, with far away processed vocals that tell you ‘Oh honey gonna watch it all dissolve.’

BAUER‘s voice, rough hewn and sounding like young TOM PETTY,  (I mean this in a good way) fills his album with references all kind of classic counterculture spirituality.  I Was Born in Ashram opens the album and the track begins with some lo-fi chanting.  It segues into the most blissed-out ‘Ahhhs…ahhhs..’.  The song mentions Shiva, and the rest of Liberation! goes on to talk plenty about left-of-center beliefs and religions. Songs overflow with references to Hinduism, yoga, scientology, Richard Dawkins and Jorge Luis Borges without becoming embarrassing  or contrived. I Was Born in Ashram ends with “let’s leave it behind” and throughout the album, you can’t really tell if BAUER endorsing these various spiritual threads or just processing them. (Press releases state this is a “mostly autobiographical album.”)

PETER MATTHEW BAUER and ‘Liberation!’ provide complex lyrics and bittersweet undertones, for fans of the INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, FAIRPORT CONVENTION and some other genius psych folk bands you’ve never heard of.

NBHAP Rating: 4/5