This follow-up to last year's "Book A Trip" compilation of soft psych sunshine pop from Capitol Records is not a patch on Volume 1 and definitely displays evidence of diminishing returns. Firstly quite a few of these tracks have already been issued on Now Sounds in single artist compilations (eg. The Sugar Shoppe, The Tuneful Trolley, The Knack, etc) which I think is a little dubious. Secondly of the 24-tracks at least four are pure bubblegum with infantile lyrics (even by the standards of soft pop!) and teeth-grindingly cheesy, upbeat melodies and therefore will not appeal to fans of soft psych pop (eg. Ian Whitcomb, Ellie Janov, The Unforscene). A few more skirt dangerously near bubblegum but just about hold it together with enough psych-touches to make them listenable (eg. Timothy Clover, The Pink Cloud, The New Kick). The remainder is a mix of pretty good folk-rockers which definitely are the highlights of the set (eg. The Tombstones, Sidewalk Skipper Band, Chris & Craig, These Vizitors, etc) and slightly trippy baroque pop, again some good tracks here such as James Fleming, Griffin with an excellent Nilsson cover, Michael Blodgett, Jesse Lee Kincaid, Raw Edge and Robbi Curtice, etc.
In conclusion therefore there are probably 15-odd solid tracks out of the 24 which equates to about 40 minutes of solid music that will appeal to fans of this genre, however nothing is as good as The Association or any of the other stronger sunshine pop bands. You can probably add another 3-4 tracks to this total if you don't possess any of the Now Sounds single artist comps that have been cherry picked for some of the tracks on this set which would knock the playing time up to about a solid 50 minutes.
on 27 December 2013
This is a long overdue compilation of forgotten, and in some cases, ignored tracks from the '60s. Steve Stanley the producer has painstakingly trawled the vaults of Capitol Records for long neglected master tapes and remastered them using today's technology. For me the stand out track is Robbi Curtice's "When Diana Paints the Picture", a rare and beautiful song, that was only ever previously released in USA. There are excellent, informative notes on all the tracks and the artists, and the whole production is a delight.
on 8 February 2016
I wrote quite a negative review of Volume 1, which to me contained more pop than psych. Being a bit of a completist though, I thought I'd pick up Volume 2 anyway when I saw it going cheap. To my surprise, I found it far more psychedelic than Volume 1, and and not just crammed with weak pop tunes. I'd recommend this to psych pop fans, quite a few of these tracks I'd never heard before and the sound quality is great.