Personnel: Howard Eynon (vocals, guitar, synthesizer); Peter Daly (violin); Abi Nathan (flute); B. Z. Fritters (French horn); Steve Mannering (electric piano, electric harpsichord); Ian Cugley (Mellotron, cymbals); Graham Ramft (double bass); Alf Properjohn (drums).
Liner Note Author: Howard Eynon.
Photographer: Suzie Eynon.
Originally released in 1974, So What If I'm Standing in Apricot Jam was the sole recorded output from Australian actor-turned-musician Howard Eynon. After playing guitar and singing as part of a theatrical presentation, Eynon was invited into the studio by producer Nick Armstrong, who helped him fill out the arrangements for the 12 tunes of wacky, often cartoonishly bizarre acid folk that made up the record. So What If I'm Standing in Apricot Jam has a distinct feeling of music created outside of any particular scene, with the songs' perspectives all very carefree and far too willfully strange to sound like the work of a driven songwriter. Instead, the album is made up of goofy skit-like presentations with various characters like album opener "Wicked Wetdrop, Quonge and Me," spoken poems from the Lewis Carroll school of whimsical wordplay such as "Village Hill," and more robust psych rockers like "French Army." Some obvious nods to the madness of Syd Barrett or the playful baroque pop of Kevin Ayers show up on moody acoustic jams like "Commitment to the Band," complete with a track of maniacal laughter cackling away in the background. As much as these songs sound written inside some weird bubble, there are moments of self-awareness that add to the humor and sweetness of the record, like on the rambling offhanded lyric where Eynon states "If you want to be critical and say this sounds a bit like Donovan, I won't change it." This and several other moments break the fourth wall, but are followed by lovely double-tracked harmonies, occasional chamber pop instrumentation, and tunes that vary from sullen brooding on par with Nick Drake or Leonard Cohen to far more upbeat, happy-go-lucky fare. More than anything, So What If I'm Standing in Apricot Jam has a sense of naive excitement, feeling like Eynon wasn't expecting to ever enter a recording studio again after these sessions wrapped up. This low-key, non-careerist approach results in the sort of uninhibited fun and experimentation that usually only makes it onto private press recordings. Unaware or unconcerned on any level with the rules, trends, or formalities of the music industry, Eynon managed to create something truly beautiful in its bizarreness before disappearing almost completely from the public eye just a few years after the album's release. ~ Fred Thomas