Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5
Here's a distinctly American take on the more psychedelic, orchestral sounds that the Beatles were known for. The project was initiated by songwriters Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery and features fine session players that also played with A-listers like Derek and the Dominos and Taj Mahal. Besides the obvious Beatles influence, the music here is crossbred with the sounds you'd find with Three Dog Night or hippy musicals like Hair, but this one immediately scores an extra Twinkie on the totem pole of psychedelic sounds as I much prefer this to Hair or Three Dog Night. The production is meaty and top notch, and the vocals are of high quality, both with the singer's Lennon-on-quaaludes sound and the Brian Wilson-worthy back ground harmonies. My only major critique with this one is that a fair portion of the lyrics sound like they were written by a 12-year-old ("Smoke a while, think a while - I feel I'm getting mighty bored - I know what I can do - I think I'll rob a liquor store..." FAIL!!), while the rest don't make much of an impressison. Fortunately, the music half of the songwriting more than makes up for this problem with some top notch psychedelic/sunshine pop melodies.
It's hard to pick out the choice tracks here as the album almost plays like a 'best of' collection, which serves to illuminate the quality of the songs. I could live without the music hall/vaudeville schtick of "Don't You Realize," but I have a bias against that sort of thing on rock albums and it's not as bad as the typical late 60's journey into that territory. My favorite tracks are stuck in the middle of the album, although everything here is pretty good. "I'm Leaving" benefits from a groovy beat and a fine fuzzy guitar solo, while "Brother Lou's Love Colony" brings out the sitars and has what I believe is the most memorable. "Love Heal" veer the closest towards Hair territory with it's call-and-response chorus, but the perfect Magical Mystery Tour emulation (the drums and bass are spot on) makes it awesome. "Where Is She" and "Rather Be Me" start off with pretty lame intros, but stick with them for 10 seconds and you'll find some very groovy tunes.
If you frequent the Psychedelic Garage for psychedelic pop, then this album is what you're looking for. No, it's not perfect, but I would say that the flaws here are more endearing than annoying. Yes, they probably borrow a bit too much from the Beatles, but they do it well enough that it's not a problem. At least this makes for a better faux-Beatles album than those of Klaatu or ELO.
Buy Me (this includes a bunch of bonus tracks and their second album):
Colours - 1968 - Colours