Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Another in The Active Listener Introduces . . . series, this one comes with an amusing title. This psych-pop outfit from Chicago may have been going for two decades but their "greatest hits" might not stretch to one side of a single.
However this 12 track collection pulled together by the band themselves -- and drawing from all parts of that long history -- is a very impressive introduction to a group that really has nailed down the late Sixties psych-vibe (with discreet nods to more expansive prog of the era as on the King Crimson-influenced Sister Strange and the Stuffed Furry Things).
They have melodies to burn (imagine if McCartney had taken as much acid as Lennon), bring buzzy guitars into play alongside up-close but gentle vocals, must know Rain/Abbey Road and pre-fame Pink Floyd inside out, and yet craft highly distinctive material of their own.
They can do some pedal-to-the-floor stuff to (the power pop of All Else Shall be Added Unto You has some real tension and aderenalin pounding through its four minutes), and some material dates back to when they had cello alongside those searing guitars.
There is ample musical diversity here (North Hampton Woods is an acoustic pastoral piece at the midpoint which breaks the dominance of electric guitars) and when they go for the epic -- well, extending past four minutes on the excellent Madeline's Voyage -- they are just prog enough in their direction changes to keep your interest.
This is an astutely programmed collection and as an introduction to a band you've probably never heard of it is much recommended.
The Introduces . . . series really has done this band a favour with this opportunity to showcase itself.
Very good indeed.
This album is available through Active Listener's bandcamp page here for free streaming or US$5 (or more).
just US$5 from bandcamp