11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Entertainment: Remastered (Audio CD)
Family, to my mind, were never really psychedelic. They emerged during that era, of course, but while their first album, MUSIC IN A DOLL'S HOUSE (a title foisted on them) looked & sounded the part, 'experimental' is probably a more accurate description. One thing they did have is true quality & it is displayed in abundance on this, their 2nd effort.
Critics & fans are divided over its merits in comparison with DOLL'S HOUSE (as a read of Amazon's review pages will confirm). But, personally, I have no doubts, favouring this, primarily because the material is more distinctive & memorable.
Their range of instrumentation is certainly a cut above your average rock group, while arrangements are unexpectedly subtle & intelligent. I especially like their use of 12-string guitar, particularly when combined with tinkling piano, as in "Processions." "The weaver's answer" & "Observations from a hill" are two further obvious highlights, but there's hardly a weak track among the 11.
Actually, I have some observations of my own. I would never accuse Family of copying anyone, HOWEVER....there are several strange coincidences concerning the record:
- The Hollies recorded a song entitled 'Elevated Observations' on their BUTTERFLY album (I think) of 1967, which uses the same idea as the aforementioned track.
- Simon & Garfunkel recorded Paul Simon's 'Patterns' (a 'tapestry of life' concept) on 'Parsley, Sage Rosemary & Thyme' album of 1966, which employs an identical rhythm to 'Weaver's answer.'
- Spirit's 'It shall be' from their 'Family that plays together' album of
1968 has an identical guitar chord sequence(descending Dmaj shape) to 'How-hi-the-li.'
- Family followed up their 'psychedelic' offering (DOLL's HOUSE) with a plain b/w sleeve, as the Beatles did with the WHITE ALBUM, after the psychedelic excess of SGT PEPPER.
- While on the subject of the sleeve, didn't the Doors have a similar front cover photo on 'Strange Days', issued 1967?
Now, for the gripes: some bonus tracks would have been nice - "Hometown" ('B' side of "Second Generation Woman"), for one. As for the lyrics, they have been thoughtfully reproduced, but are full of errors, which usually happens on Japanese issues (at least they have an excuse!).
After this album Family gradually became more hard-rocking, and, for me, less interesting (though Roger Chapman claims he was far happier belting 'em out!).