Alan Bishop aims to unify the spirit of all his projects 

Alvarius B, With a Beaker on the Burner and an Otter in the Oven
  • Alvarius B, With a Beaker on the Burner and an Otter in the Oven
Alan Bishop formed Sun City Girls with his better-known brother Richard in the early 1980s. When the Phoenix-based band disbanded a decade ago following the death of drummer Charles Gocher, Alan formed experimental jazz-rock ensembles such as Invisible Hands and Dwarfs of East Agouza, while recording solo material under the nom de guerre Alvarius B. He now offers a double-CD set and three individual LPs that aim to unify the spirit of all his projects. While Beaker on the Burner occasionally reaches the greatness of the best Alvarius B album, Baroque Primitiva, it more often recalls the kind of snarly cowboy ballads favored in some Sun City Girls albums, notably 1995’s Jack’s Creek. Such a focus may have its moments, but it seems a bit limited when spread across three LPs, making the double-CD the better value. Still, Bishop should get credit for recording this in a post-coup Cairo, particularly when it contains such provocative numbers as the album-closing “Wanted Man.”
File next to: Frank Zappa, Sun City Girls


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