My liking for the Maniacs has been covered in posts elsewhere in this Blog. “The Wishing Chair” (1985) is their second album and first on a major label. It features re-recordings of 3 songs that appeared on their previous album “Secrets Of The I Ching” (1983).
It wears its influences very much on its sleeves with obvious debts owed to Fairport Convention and Sandy Denny. The fact it was recorded in London and produced by Joe Boyd who had also worked with the Fairports, Denny and Nick Drake adds to the late 60’s/early 70’s folk-rock feel to the whole album.
The standout song here is “Scorpio Rising” which is anything but folky in feel. It’s a galloping Indie-rock romp driven by Rob Bucks subtly distorted guitar riff. Elsewhere Natalie Merchant’s voice is the star of this show, from the growl on “Scorpio Rising” to the pureness she reaches on songs like “Lillydale” and “Grey Victory”.
It’s a step up from their previous album and a good pointer to the heights they would reach on their follow up, “In My Tribe” (1987), but more of that later…
Scorpio Rising - https://youtu.be/5uMdyKh_krc