In the 1980s, a new band playing progressive space rock music knew right away they're never going to find a label to release their stuff. Hawkwind was able to get labels to release their new albums in the 1980s, but then they had the benefit of releasing many albums in the previous decade (their debut being a self-entitled album from 1970), a decade when record labels were more sympathetic to that kind of music. But since the Ozrics came a decade too late, they initially got started by releasing privately issued cassettes and selling them in the back of their tour van, during live gigs, and even in head shops across Great Britain.
The album cover artwork was all in black and white in those days because they had to be photocopied (the later Dovetail CD reissues simply used those same covers, but they were against different color backgrounds like blue, orange, yellow, green, grey, and red, while the original cassettes were simply black against a white background). Eventually a real label got to sign the Ozrics. That label was Demi-Monde, a small label owned by Dave Anderson. He was already a space rock veteran having played in such classic space rock bands as Hawkwind (on their 1971 album In Search of Space), and Amon Düül II (on 1969's Phallus Dei and 1970's Yeti), so it should be only natural his label should carry a new and up and coming space rock band.
And so the band got to work on a new album, which was recorded in London, and in Wales (where psychedelic mushrooms are aplenty, so they say). The result was Pungent Effulgent. The big benefit of the band receiving a proper label release was the band was now able to use full color artwork for their album cover (by someone named Blim, who already did the cover artwork to all their cassettes, except 1986's There is Nothing, which was done by band leader and guitarist Ed Wynne). Not only that, the album received much better production as well, better mixing, letting the band's talent really shine through. It even let the band be even more expressive.
Now the biggest problem, was it was 1989, an era of CDs, and it was only released on LP when the band was with Demi-Monde. But those few who still hung on to their turntables and bought this album were amazed at such great music in an era of Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and New Kids on the Block.
The album starts off with a killer jam called "Dissolution", which features, for a rare time, vocals, from their flute player John Egan. The next cut is a re-recording of "O-I" that originally appeared on their 1986 cassette There is Nothing. The drum sound on this version tends to be not as big (i.e., not as '80s sounding) and there are a couple of variations, but it's completely recognizable.
The third cut, "Phalarn Dawn" is basically an ambient cut, but what makes it special is the use of didgeridoo in the middle part (an instrument, for some odd reason, not heard too often on an Ozric album). The next one is a "The Domes of G'Bal", a reggae-oriented piece. That song is credited to featuring original drummer Tig (Nick van Gelder) (the rest of the cuts feature then current drummer Merv Pepler), but since Tig left in 1987 due to disinterest in the band and their music, leads me to believe it was a leftover track from their cassette-era that never made it on any of their cassettes (likely recorded before 1988's Sliding Gliding Worlds).
"Shaping the Pelm" is a great, electronic piece, great rhythm and great use of synthesizers. Nice, exotic sound, as well. For some odd reason, they decided to include a song from their 1988 cassette, Sliding Gliding Worlds and put it on this album, that song is "Kick Muck" (it's the exact same version). Likely because they wanted more people to hear this song, so it got a second life on a proper-label album. It's a live favorite with the band and still is to this day. It tends to be a rather noisy rocker, to say the least. They revisited that song on their 2000 album Swirly Termination (which was recorded in 1998 and was the album they didn't want released at all because of trouble with their then current label, Snapper Records) called "Kick '98".
Apparently after Pungent Effulgent, the Ozrics were facing trouble with their then new label Demi Monde. I am not clear on the matter. I hear stories of Dave Anderson ripping off Hawkwind by releasing those strings of notoriously crappy unoffical Hawkwind releases like badly recorded live albums and half-ass compilations, and perhaps the Ozrics didn't want to be with that kind of company (and luckily the Ozrics never got flooded with all these bootlegs and half-ass unofficial releases like Hawkwind).
In the following year, 1990, the Ozrics launched their new private label, Dovetail, first released Erpland (regarded by many as their greatest achievement, and also reviewed by me on this site), and reissued Pungent Effulgent with a few changes. First, of all, is the formats: not only on LP, but CD and cassette as well, so no one had to miss out on this great album. Two new cuts were added on. One was "Wreltch", which was originally released on their final cassette release, 1989's The Bits Between the Bits, and "A Gog in the Ether" which was either a brand new composition, or a left over cut never put on the original Pungent Effulgent due to lack of space on the LP.
In 1998, this album was reissued again, this time by Snapper Records, with an extended, live version of "Ayurvedic" called "Ayurvedism", with now a description of this album and the band by a fan, in the CD booklet. Pungent Effulgent is definately a must for all Ozric fans, and this album definately shows that more great things were to come from this band (and it sure has). All you need to do is get this album.