20 July 2007

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - 1967 - Part One

Quality: 3 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.5 out of 5

Despite the fantastic psychedelic cover, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's Part One is a pretty average piece of psychedelia. The core of the band consisted of some competent L.A. musicians locked in a faustian deal with rich boy, Bob Markley. Bob had the practice space, equipment, and some strings to pull, but he unfortunately didn't have a whole lot of talent. With the chips in hand, he pushed himself to the forefront of this band, and the tracks featuring Markley do have an Ed Wood sort of charm.

Although the band claims to be experiental, most of this adheres pretty closely to basic rock and pop templates circa 1967. They do try some strange interludes and studio effects here and there, but often seem to be screaming "Look! We're being experimental!" at the same time. This is most apparent on their cover of Frank Zappa's "Help, I'm A Rock." It's just not very convincing.

The songwriting chops here aren't particularly impressive, but at least the lyrics get some points in the "incredibly strange music" department. "1906" is a story of the San Francisco earthquake through the eyes of a dog, while "Will You Walk With Me" practically sounds like a recruitment song for the Manson family. Otherwise we're stuck with somewhat amusing psychedelic cliches such as on the still-enjoyable "Transparent Day." I don't think these guys hit on any innovative original melodies. Alas, "Leiyla" is an uninspired psych take on the Bo Diddley beat (with Markley pointlessly growling), and they manage to make "Shifting Sands" sound a little too much like "House Of The Rising Sun."

To the band's credit, they do make some smart cover choices. Even if "Help, I'm A Rock" isn't particularly successful, a Zappa cover is still a relatively rare event. They serve up a nice sparkling version of P.F. Sloan's "Here's Where You Belong" with some great electric 12-string is is the high point of the album. Plus, they tackle a Van Dyke Parks song before the release of Song Cycle, which shows some precient thought.

The bonus tracks inclede mono single mixes of "Help, I'm A Dog" and "Transparent Day." The former is annoyingly edited, but the latter sparkles a lot more in it's compressed mix and sounds much more immediate than the album version.

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The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - 1967 - Part One


Anonymous said...

hey dr schluss, i just heard your samples on myspace - sounds good. If you remove the burping rhythm parts they sound a lot like the Klaus Schulze IC label releases from the early eighties, Wahnfried, Software, Rainer Bloss etc., with that unhurried upbeat analog-ish feel. Don't know if that was intentional or not !?!?
Maybe it was just the crappy sound on my laptop speakers but I thought you could use maybe one or two more contrapuntal layers and more defined basslines. Jmho. But so far so good!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

one of best bands from does days !

Dr. Schluss said...

Thanks for listening to my music! When I recorded those songs, I actually hadn't heard Klaus Schulze at all; now I do have several 70's albums (X, Moondawn, Mirage). I agree that the songs could probably use a little more layering, but I think the bass just isn't coming out on myspace's sound player. My primary instrument is bass guitar, and I often use that instead of synth bass. Soon I'll get some better quality mp3s up here.

Anonymous said...


Graph Algidus said...

Thanx Anonymous 4 links!!!!!!