Customer Review

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and worthy a top rating, 17 Feb. 2006
This review is from: W.A.S.P. (Audio CD)
I liked The Pretty Things' "Emotions" from the first moment I bought it on used vinyl. Maybe it's my weakness for transitional Britpop albums from the 66-67 period, where groups began to trade in their rawer mod outlook for something altogether more sophisticated and experimental--where remnants of the old aggressive sound mingled with tentative attempts at psychedelia, literary pop and everything in-between, without yet embracing the full-blown psych of the post "Pepper"/"Piper" era. To be sure, The Pretties' album was one of the weaker efforts from this fascinating period: surrounded by conceptual masterpieces like "Aftermath", "Revolver", "Face To Face", "Sunshine Superman", "A Quick One", "Between The Buttons" and "Roger The Engineer", it reveals what can go wrong with these kinds of transitional steps. To put it bluntly, the string and horn orchestrations intended to add greater musical depth were taken out of the group's hands; as a result, they are vastly overused (appearing on all but one song!) and disappointingly conventional in style, making for an oil-and-water effect when heard against the group's rapidly maturing songwriting prowess. Still, it is for this songwriting growth that "Emotions" should not be dismissed, for underneath the producer's folly can be found the kinds of catchy pop tunes and Kinks-inspired character sketches that mark all the great Britpop of the period. The group lightens and expands their playing abilities beyond the derivative R&B of the first album and the brilliant, fuzztoned mod-rock of "Get The Picture", using acoustic guitars to greater measure and introducing their first real ballads, "The Sun" and "House Of Ten", which remain the highlights of the album (not-so-coincidentally, these two tracks, along with the engaging opener "Death Of A Socialite" are the few for which the orchestration sounds both adventurous and appropriate). Although the songwriting, conceptual flair and (especially) production would all improve by 1968's masterpiece "SF Sorrow", "Emotions" is still excellent and worthy a top rating, especially now it features these added tracks.
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