Released last year under the title Please Turn Me Into The Snat, Connan Mockasin’s album went largely unnoticed. Hence, the repackaging and rechristening that gives us Forever Dolphin Love – essentially the same album but one that this time around is getting the recognition it deserves.
Written in a tent outside his parents’ house in the midst of summer, Forever Dolphin Love is a porthole into the mind of Mockasin; a mind seemingly floating through a thousand different galaxies, each one with a stranger soundtrack than the last. A record of silky psych-fi, there’s something quite alien, quite eerie about the ever-changing songs (the title track flicks through at least four different incarnations in its opening minutes) and Connan’s half-squeak, half-coo, yet there’s still the earthly breeze of summer whipping through the dreamy atmosphere, a thin tie that keeps the whole thing anchored down.
The thing with Forever Dolphin Love is that it always keeps you guessing. As you get comfortable with the five minute mini-epics, it throws up 25 second interludes (‘Grampa Moff’) that fly teasingly out of reach and disappear before they’ve properly begun. When it all gets a bit too safe and melodic, a blanket of discordance is shipped in, smothering anything vaguely resembling tuneful before switching back again with just as much haste (‘Forever Dolphin Love’).
One thing you can always be certain of is that you probably won’t understand a word of what Mockasin is singing – even when he’s speaking English. ‘Egon Hosford’, a galloping nursery rhyme stuck on fast forward, races by so quickly it’s hard to decipher much more than “We’ve heard it all before/It’s Egon at the door/Egon is chunky” and even then it’s doubtful that’s exactly right. ‘Unicorn In Uniform’ sees Connan explaining “I would like to ride your unicorn but she’s standing on my uniform”, as if the two are mutually inclusive. The tubular guitar luxe of ‘It’s Choade My Dear’ is accompanied by his soothing voice telling a story wide-eyed and childlike in its abounding nonsensicality.
Forever Dolphin Love, as confusing and daft as it may be, is an intergalactic adventure through the bizarre and unconventional. It feels as if from another time, another world, another universe; a lush hallucination of unchartered utopia a million miles from the doom and gloom of Earth. It positions Mockasin as a man unafraid to break with the norm, one who can squeeze more ideas into one song than most can fit in one album without it sounding forced or overly busy. And finally, it proves him to be one of the most innovative and interesting musicians around, pushing boundaries and bending minds. It’s about time he got recognised as such.