Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5
Here's a shining star of sunshine pop. Although the group had already seen a release, they grabbed a hold of the lightning rod of easy listening songsmith Enoch Light by hitching their Crittermobile to his Project 5 label. Thus, we've got the full grooviness of mid 60's 'experimental' stereo production powering the record. Although there is certainly a trace of the 'good time music' of the Lovin' Spoonful informing the proceedings (including a cover of spoonmaster John Sebastian's 'Younger Generation'), the Critters were definitely doing their own thing and making some notable east coast echoes of the sunblasted L.A. scene. This is a prime example of a headphone album.
The title track is a wonderful burst of prime twee-pop. A few years later, this would have ended up with hamfisted Three Dog Night/Grass Roots late AM radio production, but this was fortunately recorded at the right time and at the right place. The psychedelic warble of 'Awake in a Dream' is also worth a few listens. When the band gets to it 'Younger Generation' Spoonful cover, we get a tune that doesn't quite replace the original, but does serve as a fine example of the production and arrangement skill at work here. 'Good Morning Sunshine' pops in the bubblegum a few years before that trend really took hold, while 'Sweet Breezes' does a fine job of nailing the floating ballad. "Let's Love" gets in a few proper Brian Wilson-style harmonies to soothe your earhole. There's enough gauze on the more twee and blue-eyed soul tracks that permeate the rest of the album to keep you from skipping around the tracks too much.
The cheese of AM pop is present here, but in a wonderfully palatable form. While the slab of vinyl didn't quite have the power to break into the transcendental that the Millennium or the Beach Boys could, the Critters had the dander to make everything groovy, and couldn't have come out of anywhere but 1967. Dig it.