Flying Saucer Attack | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Flying Saucer Attack




Flying Saucer Attack was founded by accident in 1992, when guitarists David Pearce and Rachel Brook took advantage of a four-track recorder that had been left unattended by Brook's brother. When Pearce played the tape at the Bristol record store where he worked, a friend mistook it for an import single and tried to buy it; since it wasn't for sale, the friend pressed it up himself. FSA's first two albums, Flying Saucer Attack and Distance, split time between pastoral instrumentals inspired by Popul Vuh's sound tracks and pop songs that wedded trebly, overdriven electric guitars a la the Jesus and Mary Chain to Nick Drake-style folky introspection; both were astoundingly beautiful. Early live performances were improvised noisefests, but as the records got more popular the "band" (Pearce, Brook, and whichever of their friends they could coax into playing onstage) vainly attempted to become a pop group. After a disastrous performance at the 1995 Reading festival, the project nearly disbanded, and Brook did quit early this year, but Pearce continues to work under the name. Most of the pieces on FSA's two 1997 releases are haunting, episodic collages of heavily processed guitar noise that betray the influence of avant-garde composers like Tony Conrad, but Pearce also offers his most emotive vocals to date on a brooding arrangement of the folk song "Sally Free and Easy." He made his U.S. debut--and his first stage appearance in two years--last weekend at the Terrastock festival, a benefit for the Ptolemaic Terrascope fanzine, in Providence. For this performance he'll be backed by (who else?) Gastr del Sol's David Grubbs and Jim O'Rourke, who'll also play a set of their own. Royal Trux headlines. Saturday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. BILL MEYER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Uncredited photo of David Pearce.

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