Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.5 out of 5
Although the Small Faces were adept at album making, I feel that they really shined on their singles. This collection (available as bonus tracks on the Small Faces 35th anniversary edition) includes four singles released at the absolute peak of the band's powers. The A-sides here are absolutely phenomenal, while the B-sides are still worthy tracks.
"I Can't Make It" is an R&B stomper which is very much in the non-psychedelic mold of their Decca Records recordings. It's flip side, "Just Passing," however, is a full plunge into the whimsical side of psychedelia with a wavering Ronnie Lane vocal and what seems to be a celeste (along with a bicycle horn). It really does "just pass" though with it's 1:13 running time.
"Here Comes The Nice" and "Itchycoo Park" are the band's absolute masterpiece singles. With a phenomenal melody and great arrangement, "Here Comes The Nice" seems to suggest that the band is heading for sunshine pop territory until the band steps up the aggressive edge in the second half and Steve Marriott gets a chance for a small touch of R&B shouting. "Itchycoo Park," while not copying the previous single at all, performs a single trick with the pastoral verses contrasting with Marriott obvious shouted drug reference of "I got high!" There is a wonderfully phased middle eight to seal the deal.
Where the first three singles are of a piece with Small Faces, "Tin Soldier" anticipates the next album, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. It's got a widescreen sound with plenty of production space. It a textured piece that isn't quite a masterpiece, but it's still a fine single with great Marriott vocals and a touch of gospel influence.
Mono and stereo mixes are available for this one and my comments on the Small Faces album hold true for this as well.
The albums are fine and dandy, but this is a 20 minute blast of the Small Faces at their peak.
Small Faces - 1967 - Immediate Singles