- Melody / Hooks
“A musician, if he’s a messenger, is like a child who hasn’t been handled too many times by man, hasn’t had too many fingerprints across his brain.”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience second album Axis:Bold as Love was released in the U.K. in December 1967 and reached N.o. 5 in the chart. It also reached N.o. 3 in the American chart and Rolling Stone have placed it at #85 on their list of The Greatest 500 Albums of all time. Despite Jimi Hendrix leaving the original mastertapes of side one in a London Taxicab so it had to be remixed, The Hendrix Experience second album is another incredible triumph.
The second Experience album leans more heavily towards a complex lyrical mysticism and lucid poetics with songwriting of a more deliberate meaning and intent in opposition to the hard rock rattle and hum combustion or interstellar immediacy of its feedback soaked predecessor “Are You Experienced”.
Hendrix and the band also blend the fervant science fiction, metaphysics and exploratory lyricism of his psychedelic ideology and imagination with a more refined approach to instrumentation and a more nuanced and detailed style.
Castles Made of Sand
The tentative, fragile lyrical tragedy of “Castles Made of Sand” hones more Dylanesque metaphor through the collapsing time of backwards guitar, whilst “If 6 was Nine” screams the experimental battle cry of the counter culture, like the dissembling miles of a bullet from a revolutionaries’ musket in slow motion.
Bold As Love
Hendrix of course still manages to coax never before heard techniques and sounds from his guitar, more melodic jazz funk influences (from his R&B chitlin’ circuit days) whilst channeling his mysticism and revelatory existentialism across a range of genres. There are unmissable ballads that exemplify the fragile duality of the time; the hopes and fears, the real and the unreal as much as showcase his unique melody / chord phrasing: the birdsong love poem “Little Wing” and the homesick art-rock of “Spanish Castle Magic”. The final track “Bold as Love” is arguably one of the greatest arrangements of synaesthetic, lyrical metaphor, melodic rhythm guitar and majestic lead guitar ever written and recorded.
The Verdict – Good, bad or just ugly?
Hendrix departure from the Are you Experienced blueprint into a more refined space proves that he is mor ethan capable of building beautiful Castles made of sound.