Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother — Taking their name from Lady Fuchsia Groan of the 1940's novel `Titus Groan', Fuchsia were a British progressive-folk group made up of students who delivered a single cherished little album that has since picked up quite a legendary underground status over the last few decades. Comprised of charming and sprightly folk tunes with lush orchestrated instrumentation and keen pop melodies, it almost sounds like a cross between early Pink Floyd and the Syd Barrett solo albums, Electric Light Orchestra and a pinch of Gentle Giant, Caravan and Fruupp, making for a whimsical, energetic and sweet psych-lite folk gem.
The group is directed by lead singer and guitarist Tony Durant, who fleshes out Fuchsia's acoustic/electric sound with a predominantly female band on violin, cello, viola, harmonium and piano. Opener `Gone With The Mouse' is softly energetic and lively, propelled by forcefully jangling plugged-in guitar strums, sighing plaintive backing vocal longings from the girls and lightly proggy orchestral-like violin interludes that soar gently with confidence.
`A Tiny Book', one of the more ambitious pieces at eight minutes, is a mini-suite of subtle reprising passages that seamlessly move in and out of each-other, darting through everything from frantic electric bursts, wearily wistful ballad ruminations and regal-flecked pomp in the finale that would make Gentle Giant green with envy! Pay close attention to this track - Tony's likable voice here often sounds like the results of a lovechild between the Floyd's Syd Barrett and the nasally Steven Wilson of the early Porcupine Tree works! But moving on, `Another Nail' is bookended with violin-fuelled whimsy that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Caravan albums like `For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night' before crashing into a politely wilder vocal psychedelic runaway rocker with a touch of Pink Floyd/`The Piper at the Gates of Dawn's `Astronomy Domine' to it!
The B-side's `Shoes And Ships' is one of the strongest tunes on the album, a fragile yet elegant folk-popper with frequent orchestral reprises in place of a vocal chorus and a longer instrumental acoustic guitar outro, and it almost sounds like a template for a million indie-pop/folk bands ever since. The playful and loopy `The Nothing Song' practically screams Syd Barrett and his `Madcap Laughs' and `Barrett' albums, and along with some darker little traces locked in, there's a deliciously bent and slightly `off' quality to it all! It's a psychedelic romp that throws in everything from big percussion crashes, rumbling drums, dramatic orchestration, with shambling acoustic guitars alongside manic and mischievous electric guitar soloing.
`Me And My Kite', a favourite amongst fans of the album and group, is a gorgeously twee pop-charmer with a sweet and achingly simple chorus, and the dreamy bluesy guitar bends of closer `Just Anyone' again reminds of the earliest Floyd works.
Sadly, sparse advertising and failed touring opportunities lead to the premature demise of the group soon after, until a compilation of unreleased and related pieces entitled `Fuchsia, Mahogany and Other Gems' emerged in 2005, and more excitingly a revamped modern line-up assembled by Mr Durant, now based in Australia, delivering a well-received proper follow-up `Fuchsia II: From Psychedelia...To a Distant Place' in 2013. But for over forty years now, this charming self-titled work has been Fuchsia's defining musical statement, one that holds an effortlessly melodic crossover quality that would also likely appeal to non-folk fans, and it has retained its infectious and precious charm ever since.