31 October 2012

The Critters - Touch'n Go With the Critters

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.


Anonymous said...
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FiveGunsWest said...

Nice post Doc!

Anonymous said...

Great blog but please remove this post as Now Sounds has recently reissued the album.


Geoff Callahan, PI said...

You should at least add an Amazon link on this one, so people could get it legitimately. The Now Sounds reissue disc is awesome. It includes both the Critters Project 4 label albums. They do great work in the pop reissue field.

Anonymous said...

i think it is frustrating and sad, that you put your heart and positive energy into this blog, only to get redirected by the whim of the artist? agent? amazon? other? to redirect search for the music elsewhere. it would be a link tracking nightmare. for instance, the comment above asks you to redirect to now sounds, but when i go there to find the music, the page redirects to cherry red main page which has no reference to the music in question, but lists nowsounds as a possible affiliate, but where does one find what one was initially looking for as you initially commented on it? i think the proprietary corporate internet has to die so that organic business can exist. like bandcamp, buy direct from artist. now there's a real time solution. and it's affordable not 25£ british which is 2 1/2 times the price of music in the rest of the world. all that, just to hear what the music is like... duh