Wednesday, 9 March 2011

***The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Part One & Volume Two -FANTASTIC UNMISSABLE U.S PSYCH BAND!!***

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's first album for Reprise was the best of the group's career, in large part because it was the most song-oriented.

It was still plenty weird, almost to the point of stylistic schizophrenia, but when you got down to it, much of the record was comprised of fairly catchy songs in the neighborhood of two and three minutes.

At times they sounded like reasonably normal, fairly talented Byrds-like folk-rockers ("Transparent Day," P.F. Sloan's "Here's Where You Belong"); at others, a Kinks-like garage band ("If You Want This Love"); and at others, a fey Baroque pop outfit (the orchestrated "Will You Walk With Me"). There was an undercurrent of unsettling weirdness and even paranoia, though, in some cuts with otherwise pleasing tunes, like "Shifting Sands," with its sizzling distorted guitars; "I Won't Hurt You," with its heartbeat bass and disconnected vocals; and "Leiyla," where a standard teen garage rocker suddenly gets invaded by spoken dialog that seems to have been lifted from a vampire B-movie.

The cover of Frank Zappa's "Help, I'm a Rock" flung them into freakier pastures, emulated convincingly on the group original "1906," an apt soundtrack to a bummer acid trip with its constant spoken refrain, "I don't feel well." It's true that all but one of these songs (the nondescript "'Scuse Me, Miss Rose," written by famed Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash/Simon & Garfunkel producer Bob Johnston) is on the Transparent Day compilation.

But there are good reasons to consider buying the Sundazed 2001 CD reissue: The thorough liner notes start to unravel the history of this mysterious band, and mono single mixes of "Help, I'm a Rock" and "Transparent Day" are tacked on as bonus tracks (Richie Unterberger)

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, no strangers to weirdness on their prior 1967 album Part One, had still often stuck to relatively straightforward, concise, and pop-flavored songs on that LP.

Here they stretched out into less structured, more avowedly psychedelic (and indeed experimental) territory, with mixed results.

"Smell of Incense" (covered for a small hit by Southwest FOB) was sublime psych-pop.

Yet "Suppose They Give a War and No One Comes" was just some fool -- actually the band's chief investor, lyricist, and tambourine player, Bob Markley -- grafting silly, self-consciously freaky recitation of a vintage 1936 Franklin Roosevelt speech onto an ominous fuzz guitar backup.

Other cuts like "In the Arena" and "Overture -- WCPAEB Part II" were free-form psychedelic creepiness without the strong content of, say, likely influence Frank Zappa.

Yet some of the strangest efforts exert their own strange charm, like "Buddha," with its unfathomable delineation of a garden of delights set against chimes, tinkles, and gongs.

Interspersed with all this was some generic country-folk-rock (although the wavering backup bagpipes on "Delicate Fawn" give even that a weird sheen), fair harmony soft rock ("Queen Nymphet"), and unhinged garage-psych-fuzz madness.

There's half a decent (if screwy) psychedelic album here, and half incoherence, particularly when so many disparate tracks and styles are slung against each other.

The CD reissue on Sundazed adds mono single mixes of "Smell of Incense" and "Unfree Child." (by Richie Unterberger)


(Part One)
01.Shifting Sands - 3:54
02.I Won't Hurt You - 2:24
03.1906 - 2:18
04.Help, I'm A Rock - 4:26
05.Will You Walk With Me - 3:01
06.Transparent Day - 2:18
07.Leiyla - 2:55
08.Here's Where You Belong - 2:50
09.If You Want This Love - 2:52
10.'Scuse Me Miss Rose- 3:03
11.High Coin' - 2:04

(Vol Two)
01.In The Arena
02.Suppose They Give A War And No One Comes
04.Smell Of Incense
05.Overture: Wcpaeb, Pt. II
06.Queen Nymphet
07.Unfree Child
08.Carte Blanche
09.Delicate Fawn
10.Tracy Had A Hard Day Sunday
11.Smell Of Incense

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band:
*Dan Harris (guitar)
*Shaun Harris (bass guitar, vocals)
*Michael Lloyd (guitar, vocals)
*Bob Markley (tambourine, percussion, vocals)
*Ron Morgan (lead guitar, electric sitar)




Anonymous said...

A fault confessed is half redressed.