Recorded in 1968 and being the only studio album from the CA Quintet, Trip Through Hell is in many ways typical of its era. It's an American psychedelic album that contains more than a trace of Brit Invasion influence, and thus sits well with The Blues Magoos' Basic and The Chocolate Watch Band's No Way Out, as well as many other equally lysergically bathed albums of that most confusing of eras. That's not to say that C A Quintet's offering doesn't stand out from the crowd. For a start they're not from California. There isn't even a hint of the Mamas and Papas here, though if you listen closely you might detect a Doorsesque sensibility. The closest comparisons I can make are to The Pretty Things' S F Sorrow and The Spoils of War's first album. Those are very different albums, and there is indeed a sense of schizophrenia. However, there is continuity and coherency aplenty. The first nine tracks, which make up the original vinyl release, take the listener through a varied landscape of light and shade. The whimsical Brit-influenced self-contained pieces are arranged beautifully, with sweet melodies and deft musicianship, but always leaving room for discordant, chiefly improvised sections of Velvet Underground-like noise. The recording quality is, by today's standards, slightly lacking in places, but overall I'd have to give an enthusiastic thumbs up to this CD re-release from Sundazed. The packaging is nicely done and informative. The bonus tracks are all good and actually add to the whole, with only three out of ten being "alternate versions" of tracks on the album proper. Moreover, a cheekier, more playful pop sensibility is revealed in these later outtakes and singles. (I particularly enjoy "Bury Me in a Marijuana Field".) Overall, I have to say that there is something of the obscure classic to Trip Through Hell. It's quintessential, played with proficiency, imagination and gusto (a rare combination) and should by all rights be up there with Sgt Pepper's and Piper at the Gates.