Well, of-course back in 1968 the way to success was to make soupy string and trumpet pop. Make it sound like it was recorded in a Blue Whale's stomach, and, Wallah! Out comes a hit.
But that would be to discredit such a great song as "Eloise". Truly. It's one of those, you know, classics, that genuinely is classic. And you might not be surprised that a late-60's artist would make an album of dreamy, sophisticated, classical-music pop. But you might be surprised that there isn't more stuff like this; it just sounds so great.
It's the execution, more than anything else, which is questionable. The first album here is SO souped up the vocals often drown in a rich gravy of strings and silly backing vocals. And if you can't hear the vocals, or understand them, you wouldn't know if the singer was berating your family's name or ridiculing your meager income (not that Barry Ryan would do that!).
But if you like Eloise, definitely get this set. "Why do you cry my love?", "The colour of my love" and "You don't know what you're doing" are all fantastic classical-psych and the second album is full of gems, and is actually a better album, as it has a better production and is more consistent; despite a few terrible experiments, like "The Hunt", where the dream turns into a nightmare, and the fwuffy wabbits grow big teeth and run after Elmer and Alice with bayonets.
Otherwise, this album is like star-gazing on a glorious night.
There are two bonus tracks that have a more realistic production and are more litsenable, showing up the flaws in the studio albums.
"Barry Ryan Sings Paul Ryan" - 3 stars
"Barry Ryan" - 3.5 stars
overall - 3.5 stars