18 of 38 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: It's a Beautiful Day (Audio CD)
I still vividly remember, about 31 years on, the first time I heard "White Bird". It was early on in my first year away at uni, about 2 a.m. after my first evening out with a new circle of friends. A load of us had gone back to a flat on the Bury New Road rented by three girls (two beautiful, one less so), where I'd seen people smoking "pot" for the first time.... It all seemed so amazingly glamorous, sophisticated and mellow. "White Bird" just seemed to sum it all up: the crooning vocal harmonies (part folk, part country, part acid), the wailing violin ("the Jimi Hendrix of the violin", David LaFlamme was hyped as), the subtle Afro-Latino-pop percussion, the spaced out lyrics about flying and dying.... Far out, man!
I don't know what happened to the rest of the album. Maybe my hosts weren't too stoned to still have their critical faculties intact, and skipped tracks 2-7.
Either way, I stumbled across a re-release several years later, and feverishly bought it, raced home and put it on the deck expecting to transported by it.
Bad move. "White Bird" is still an extraordinary song if you can cope with the sixties hippy mannerisms, but the rest of the album is almost perfectly unlistenable. LaFlamme's o-so-smooth crooning vocals and the bland tunes are even more indigestible than the occasional frequent montages of chaotic acid-rock noise and squeal. The compositions make you wonder how they came up with "White Bird" in the first place. "Girl With No Eyes" is pretty and wistful, and "Bombay Calling" is historically interesting as it contains the prototype of Deep Purple's more famous "Child In Time"; apart from that, you could well be listening to four tracks of particularly self-indulgent filler.
Only buy this if you are trying to escape from the 21st century into a Haight-Ashbury timewarp. Otherwise, if you want to hear awesome songs, goose-bump-inducing vocal harmonies and virtuoso violin playing, try "New Favorite" by Alison Krauss and Union Station.