Friday, February 22, 2008

Forever Amber - The Love Cycle (1969)

Forever Amber was a young, British six piece pop band that lacked the money and resources to make it big. Apparently, only 99 copies of their sole album The Love Cycle were manufactured to avoid tax. Originally known as the Country Cousins, they changed their name to Forever Amber in response to the rise of psychedelia in 1967. Although The Love Cycle is meant to be a cohesive story about the stages of a blossoming relationship that ultimately goes sour, the sound of the record is largely inconsistent. Throughout the album, there are five different lead vocalists and the band flounders between stereotypical love songs and far out psychedelic pop. While I heavily favor the more psychedelic cuts like "The Dreamer Flies Back" and "Better Things Are Bound To Come," I still appreciate many of the poppy songs that dominate the album. They're full of nice harmonies, tinkering harpsichord, and catchy organ. Unfortunately, most of the drumming sounds like someone who started playing a week before the recordings. Despite The Love Cycle's flaws, it still remains an important pop album from the psychedelic era, especially considering the circumstances it was made under.

Here's the themes of the stages of the album:

The Meeting:
1. Me oh My
2. Silly Sunshine

The Talking:
3. Bits of Your Life, Bits of My Life
4. For a Very Special Person
5. The Dreamer Flies Back
6. Misunderstood
7. Better Things Are Bound To Come

The Walk Home:
8. On a Night In Winter

The Joy:
9. On Top of My Own Special Mountain
10. Mary (the Painter)
11. All the Colours of My Book

The Doubt:
12. Going Away Again

The Sorrow:
13. A Chance to Be Free

The Scorn:
14. I See You As You Used to Be

The Grief:
15. Letters From Her
16. My Friend

Download The Love Cycle

The End - Introspection (1969)

The End were a band that epitomized British psychedelia but never gained the attention they deserved. Formed in 1965 by Dave Brown and Colin Giffin of the defunct beat group the Innocents, the End managed to tour with the Rolling Stones through their friend and Stones' bassist, Bill Wyman. Wyman would later produce their first and only record, Introspection. The band survived several lineup changes throughout their existence, but in 1968 when Colin Giffin and drummer Hugh Attwooll left, they eventually became a more progressive band called Tucky Buzzard. What the fuck type of band name is that? The release of Introspection was delayed for over a year because of an ugly fall out between the Stones and record executive, Allen Klein. Instrospection is a favorite of mine, although I've always thought it's production was a bit too sleek. I recently came across some of their earlier material, which shows a bit of their R&B roots and has a satisfyingly rougher sound. I'll post it sometime or another.

"Cardboard Watch" from the Spanish film, Un, Dos, Tres, Al Escondite Ingle's

Download Introspection