Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5
If we are not looking at rock royalty, we are at least looking at its nobility. And the sounds here pretty much bear that out. I can't recall if he ended up as Chad or Jeremy, but Peter Asher was one of those fellows and his sister was Paul McCartney's main squeeze in the mid 60's, with the two dudes apparently chumming it out from time to time. Not that there is an obvious Beatles tilt to the sound other than a certain British big budget attempt at stiff upper lip psychedelia. I would rather suggest equal doses of Donovan and Simon and Garfunkel cross-pollinated with a wall smear of Moody Blues orchestration. Does that do it for ye? (Edit: comment points out that I am mixing up my Chad & Jeremys with my Peter & Gordons as a joke. Uh... yeah! It's a funny joke! --- Kids, don't drink and then write at midnight. Turns out Peter Asher is not the same name as Chad Stuart or Jeremy Clyde)
Side A rattles a slew of twee-leaning folk rock your way. Yes, this is absolutely white people music, You get your Lewis Carroll reference right at the start of "Rest in Peace," which then takes a six-minute morph through several psychedelic-lite tableaus that Parliament (the government system, not the band) would likely approve of. The next several tracks run through a more taut run of orchestrated folk rock that will occasionally lull you into thinking that you are listening to the aforementioned Donovan or Simon & Garfunkel. You'll dig it at a rate of 90% compared to the former and 75% compared to the latter. These statistics do not suck. Side B's Progress suite steps up the pretentious meter skyrocketing even past the Moody Blues' "Days of Future Past." But hey, not blow it halfway and the addition of Indian sitars and orchestration are always a plus in this doctor's book. They don't start singing until three tracks in, where they give you dietary suggestions, and then just start ranting in "Fall." Getting down to it, the Progress Suite is pretty much a failure, but it's that spectacular psychedelic failure where you will start looking for, and maybe discover, the sublime in the end. Sort of like Sagittarius. As long as your can break through the noticeable smattering of Vegas orchestrated cheese that you are going to hear. There are a few bonus tracks hanging aboot as well, with "Painted Dayglow Smile" standing tall as a notable single and "Manners Maketh Man" making a Kingsmen reference almost 50 years too early.
You may or may not dig this stuff again, but give it your attention and you will find yourself getting obsessed with the ever shifting grooves in either case. The germ of an idea that gave birth to this album was probably a bad one, possibly a stoned one. It is still something to behold.