Welcome to Bliss/Aquamarine - alternative, underground and indie music.


I have been given a rare opportunity to hear some demos by Mystic Village, a new band that consists of Robert Cooksey on vocals and acoustic guitar, Nick Aston on keyboards and percussion, and Julie Davis on vocals. Robert is of course best known for his work with The Sea Urchins and the original line-up of Delta, though he was also in other bands in more recent years alongside Nick, namely Golden Glass and SkyTripper, and released a solo CD, Tomorrow's Tomorrow, under the name of Bobby Bongo.

The songwriting style of Mystic Village follows in a similar vein to Bobby Bongo, contemporary songs with a folk spirit, which are reflective, personal and emotional, though the intense melancholy present at times in the solo songs is mostly absent here. The arrangements are of course fuller, with the addition of keyboards alongside acoustic guitar.

I Can't Find the Words is contemporary folk with lyrics of positivity and hope, accompanied by soft chiming keyboard and a guitar melody with faint echoes of The Sea Urchins' Everglades. Forest Fyre is a galloping instrumental with a cinematic quality; there's a really good interplay of guitar and piano as expected with musicians who have been working together for years, the melody ornamented by shimmering tambourine. Golden Eye is beautiful psych-folk with intricate acoustic guitar overlaid with ethereal keyboard.

We'll Always Be One is superb contemporary folk balladry with very lovely nature-mystical lyrics, taking in multifaceted use of keyboard that shifts from jazz-blues ivory tinkling to neoclassicalism with ease. People is a duet between Robert and Julie, backed by a beautifully intricate guitar, piano and organ arrangement. The melody is incredibly memorable, having been stuck in my head for days! Rainbow River is the most melancholic song here, dealing with the heartbreak that comes with the ending of a relationship. Again the accompaniment is truly lovely, with intricate acoustic guitar interwoven with soaring flute. With Open Eyes features an immense neoclassical keyboard arrangement as backdrop for another song that refuses to dislodge itself from my brain.

In addition to the songs written by Robert, there is also an instrumental written by Nick, entitled Village of the Vampires. As soon as I saw that title I thought it must be the name of a vintage horror movie, and sure enough, it takes its name from a 1970s Hammer horror film which was never actually made. The piece avoids stereotypical horror cliches while still conjuring up something pastoral yet uncanny, evoking scenes of a seemingly sleepy village that's not all it seems. The music has an authentic film score sound, the keyboards employed to create a veritable mini-orchestra.

Even in demo form, these tracks are highly impressive and show considerable musical talent. Just imagine how amazing they will sound in their final versions! If all goes to plan, there should be a Mystic Village album out this year. There's no website yet for Mystic Village but you can find out more by emailing Robert at


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