3 March 2015
"The Search Party" is a group of five young people ("Joanie Goff" vocals and guitar, "Pete Apps" lead Guitar and vocals, "Jim Carvalho" bass guitar and vocals, "Tim King" Drums) trying to produce relevant, religious music. Apparently 'relevant' (as back cover said) here means "psychedelic". A psychedelic monster.
Heading up this project and composing a fair portion of this material is the Reverend Nicholas Freund of Mount Saint Paul College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. "The Search Party" relocated in Sacramento and recorded their lone album at the San Francisco Theological Seminary's Montgomery Chapel (hence the title).
"Montgomery Chapel" (Century 32013, 1968 - same indie label of "The All Of Thus") was a real trippy San Francisco sound, from powerhouse Fuzz explosions like "You And I" and "The News Is You" to more delicately-fashioned haunting acoustic ballads.
Alternating male and female ("Joanie Goff" had the same command and range as "Dorothy Moskowitz" of "The United States of America",) leads with lots of piercing organ that gives eerie qualities to wispy tracks like the mesmerizing "When He Calls".
With haunting vocals and dreamlike passages, sinister "Farfisa Compact Organ", blasts of Fuzz guitar and downer lyrics, Montgomery Chapel is psychedelic music at its most evocative and thanks to its depth and sense of anxiety, most truly spiritual.
The ominous nine-minute drifter "So Many Things Have Got Me Down", tackles the difficulties of an unfulfilled married life, depression and spiritual apathy, all while riding a stripped down, grooving beat.
Acid Archives :"It's crude, even the female vocalist has a strange edge. Unrehearsed confessions from a basement Music Emporium.'"
At its best the album is superb.