For his second album, Anton Fier drafted in through the Golden Palominos' ever revolving door carefully chosen musicians to nail and delineate his rapidly evolving ideas.
As one of alternative music's biggest hitters - he's Bonzo-like in his relationship with the skins - his ideas were naturally going to be bombastic.
So he needed some giants to carry it off.
Which is when everyone found out just how well connected Fier was.
The roll-call for Visions of Excess was magnificent, reading more like a guest list for a gong show than album credits.
Among others are: Bill Laswell, Jody Harris, Richard Thompson, Henry Kaiser, Jack Bruce, Nicky Skopelitis, Carla Bley and Arto Lindsay.
Some sessions they must have been.
Top notch singers were also cast; appropriate to type; applying the finishing touch to Fier's genre expanding sounds.
Michael Stipe, singing on the opening three tracks, establishes the alt. country, Americana flavour that Fier was now dabbling in.
This new found interest allowed Stipe the opportunity to really let loose on 'Clustering Train', which to my ear sounds like one of the best songs REM never recorded.
Syd Straw, making her lead debut, furthered Fier's interest in Americana on a couple of tracks; but then a swerve was made musically: first one way with the more stripped down track 'Only One Party', including a return for former Palomino Arto Lindsay who sings lead; and then more obliquely with 'The Animal Speaks', a song fronted by John Lydon - proceeding a tremendous belch - which is about as far away from alt. country and Americana as it could get on this album.
And if 'Clustering Train' sounds like one of the best tracks REM never recorded, 'The Animal Speaks' sounds like a long lost track from a long lost PIL session.
The Golden Palominos - Visions of Excess (1985)
The Animal Speaks
(Kind of) True
Only One Party
Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
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