|1. Eighteen Is Over The Hill|
|2. In the Country|
|3. Ritual #1|
|4. Our Drummer Always Plays In The Nude|
|5. As the World Rises and Falls|
|6. Until The Poorest Of People Have Money To Spend|
|7. Watch Yourself|
|8. A Child's Guide To Good And Evil|
|9. Ritual #2|
|10. A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death|
|11. As Kind As Summer|
|12. Anniversary Of World War 111|
|13. Shifting Sands|
As for Vol. 3, on several cuts, the band shows a mastery of jazzy and funky elements not heard before on their previous rock/folk-rock disk. The guys were still young (not yet twenty), but their corpus was an astonishing blend of maturity and exuberant freshness.
"Eighteen is Over the Hill" is one of the more hauntingly memorable songs I have heard, coming across kind of mellow, MobyGrape-like; but there's a sad melodic tone not usually so pronounced on Grape songs. At the mournful chorus, a stunning meter change from 4 to 3 and back again is melodically accented by a wonderfully expressive tom-tom lick. This is quintessential late West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. "I like too much the . . . rain, power of my brain, sunshine, and the open road . . . ahead of me." [5+ stars]
"In the Country" may be my all-time favorite country rock tune, even though I've only listened a few times so far. It exudes good vibes and strong emotion, with sweet touches of irony in the lyrics. [5 stars] "San Francisco's dead . . . in LA, no one's on the street . . . let's go off on our own in the country."
"Ritual #1" [4 stars] "". First time I've heard raga punk. "There she goes being chased down the road to ruin" . . . "about to cry underneath butterfly skies . . . gone!"
"Our Drummer Always Plays in the Nude" is a quirky and adventurous, good-natured male adolescent coming-of-age song. [3 stars] "I like very comfortable girls who are straight, but not quite". In 1969 "straight" generally meant uptight [a non-swinger], though in another context referred to someone who drank rather than used drugs, or used no substances at all. But the boys in this band said they didn't use, so . . .
"As the World Rises and Falls" Warm, slow and ambling; but sad, and mysterious. A little reminiscent of Donovan--melodically, rhythmically and in terms of the singer's phrasing. Gorgeously pretty song. A marvelously poetic and musical slice of life [5 stars]
"Until the Poorest of People Have Money to Spend". Great hippie tune and lyrics, with way cool simultaneous juxtapositions of sitar and fuzz-tone guitar leads. More heartwarming, impassioned singing. [5 stars]
"Watch Yourself" slow jazzy rock sounds, loud crowd sounds [including screaming young women] mixed with the music. More fuzz/grunge lead. Femme fatale story-song, with an intensely emotional chorus, and a long instrumental breaks which drive the ambience to an almost fever pitch. [5 stars]
"A Child's Guide to Good & Evil" starts with a moody twangy electric folk guitar introduction. Vocals are mostly spoken narrative. This is the first really trippy song on the record. Textually, kind of an amplification of Pearls Before Swine's "Drop Out With Me". [5 stars]
"Ritual #2" an up-tempo raga punk intro [with spoken words], leads into a more Beatlesque pop-rock song, but with the band's freaked-out electronic bird sounds [of several species] swirling above, around and through the mix. A very telling ambiguity is created by the substitution of "you make pretty beads . . . you make pretty flowers" in the main/sung part of the song for the nearly identical phrase "You make pretty babies . . ." in the intro. Both lead into the identical ending phrases "let's lay on the long green grass and look at them . . . and each other".
"A Child of a Few Hours is Burning To Death": quirky narration/singing coupled with funky guitars. "We should have called Suzi and Bobby: they like to watch fires." "Napalm is perfect for women and children." [4 stars at least]
"As Kind as Summer": beautiful run-on sentences with a [very original for 1969] vibrant punk sound gradually fades out to . . .
"Anniversary of World War III": the track is silent, in keeping with the idea that the world would have ended, or else (?) said war would never have occurred. [On the LP version, the record just ends after the 'previous' song.] Great /perceptual/conceptual sleight of hand/mind. [unrated]
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