Along with the Outsiders this was one of Holland’s top groups. They predated the MC5 and Stooges by a few years, their sound was powerful blues derived garage rock with a nasty edge. Willem Bieler’s vocals were spit out with venom and in Frank Nuyens they possessed one of rock’s great underrated guitarists.
Revival was their second lp released in 1968/1969. Prior to that Q65 had released a superb 1966 debut, plenty of great non-lp singles and an outstanding blues rock ep titled Kjoe Blues. It was a time of transition for the group, Bieler was tired of the club circuit and opted out for military service. Other members were making new music under the name Circus. These new tracks reflected the psychedelic era but it wasn’t long before Circus folded and Hans Van Hemert released a new Q65 album titled Revival. Revival was made up of earlier singles, stray album tracks and Circus material. Much of the music had more of a psychedelic vibe but still bore many of the classic hallmarks of Q65.
Revival opened with Cry In The Night. This was one of the Q’s greatest punk rockers, a pulverizing monster that stood out for it’s vicious, out of control guitar breaks and Bieler’s deranged vocals. So High I’ve Been, So Down I Must Fall is similarly excellent but more in an acid punk style. This track has more mental guitar work and a brilliant outsider feel – a very intense, emotional track. The album’s variety could be considered it’s strength. One track, World of Birds covers the exotic folk-rock spectrum and is notable for some fine psychedelic guitar work while It Came To Me is fast and furious blues-rock. Ridin’ On A Slow Train may be the best of the 3 Circus tracks, it’s overloaded with guitar effects and distortion. The other two, Fairy Tales of Truth, a nice psych pop number highlighted by mellotron and Sundance, a bizarre psychedelic instrumental are also very worthy.
Q65 would go on to make two more albums in the early 70’s, Afghanistan and We’re Gonna Make It. These are generic hard rock albums that are nowhere near as good as their 1965-1969 peak. During their peak I would say that Q65 recorded just one bad song, a cover of Otis Redding’s Mr. Pitiful (on their debut album). The rest of their catalog is ace, a strong body of work that stands up to the best the Yardbirds, Pretty Things and Outsiders have to offer. While Revival may not be a cohesive listen, this is because many of the tracks were recorded during different periods within the group’s lifespan. Each track is strong though and you could proudly stand this along side CQ or S.F. Sorrow as one of the classic acid punk albums.
There are great cd and vinyl reissues of Revolution and Revival that are somewhat hard to find but preffered. Rev-Ola’s best of Nothin’ But Trouble is recommended but omits a few essential tracks. During their heyday Q65 were one of the best rock groups around.