[sic] Magazine

Simply Saucer – Cyborgs Revisited

What does rock ‘n’ roll mean to you? There are infinite answers, of course, but Simply Saucer’s remastered version of Cyborgs Revisited, complete with bonus live disc, may henceforth be the only the correct one. The cult Canadian outfit were originally active 1974-75, but went barely unnoticed outside of the basement at the time, Mole Records eventually digging up the demos way down the line in 1989 for a proper release of the album. Capitalising in renewed interest in the band since their 2006 reformation, it’s In The Red who’ve now fallen hard for the early work of these cosmic proto-punks.

Naturally Cyborgs Revisited is vintage sounding, but – through its primitive sheen – it’s surprising just how classic it sounds too. Guitarist and sneering frontman Edgar Breau is truly a lost star of some serious repute, stuttering for emphasis like a pro, dialling in and out of intensity and strutting on the messy audio like the best of them. Written in the total isolation of Hamilton, Ontario, there’s also understandably little care for their then contemporaries, Breau’s half-brother John “Ping Romany” LaPlante supplying an explosive array of blown-out, downright weird space-rocking electronics to firmly lead any idea of stable melody astray. Amidst marauding percussion, splashing cymbals and distorted wah do come, however, concessions to the laidback rhythms of The Kinks and the all-encompassing influence of The Velvet Underground (there’s even an inevitable and sympathetic mash-up of “Sweet Jane” and “I’m Waiting For The Man” offered as a digital-only extra). The acoustic guitar consequently comes out for the arresting “Bullet Proof Nothing”, an achingly cool smear of retro rock with an undisputed predilection for power choruses.

Distilling rock ‘n’ roll in turn down to its crudest essence, the two-part title-track first dishes out a 100 mph dose of proto-punk posturing to the metallic accompaniment of abrasive blues riffs, cosmic effects whooshing you clean off the surface of the Earth, these deep blues giving way to a burble of droning space-rock on part two. Self-classifying as “heavy metalloid” music on the intro to the ten-minute closer “Illegal Bodies”, Breau’s later on oddly prescient form, future-gazing to a time of discrimination against cyborgs, a time that will surely come. To the sound of quick-fire jangles and a battered kit, it’s really quite something too. A take, again, on The Velvet Underground, this time on their “Rock & Roll” only by way of strangled, screaming Hawkwind solos that sear the flesh off your bones in anticipation of your dystopian fusion with a metal body, hot streams of liquid guitar noise duly pour forth – literal white heat if you will, spun out to psychedelic proportions by the sheer audacity of the jam.

Frustratingly excellent boogies blunted by the ravages of time and opportunity, the live disc is a shade crustier still, southern-style saloon rockers and drunken honkey-tonk blues run through with proto-punk attitude to a track and, when Breau yells the title to “Rock ‘n’ Roll Brain Cells”, it’s about as authentic a battle cry as you’ve ever heard. There’s consequently a tinge of sadness for what-might-have-been-but-never-was, indeed for any number of other bands in the same boat too, but sometimes, just sometimes, a band is too important to stay relatively unheard forever.

~Cyborgs Revisited is re-released 6th April 2018 via In The Red. It contains new liner notes by band biographer Jesse Locke and unseen images.~