The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Vol. 2 - Classic Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Vol. 2

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:1967-03-10
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Vol. 2
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Vol. 2

The thing about defining psychedelic music is not finding what it really was, but what it was not. In its late Sixties heyday, and still on today, it practically included everything imaginable in music and it seems that the key concept at that time was throw in anything and see if it sticks. In its best instances it was truly brilliant, let's not go any further for example than The Grateful Dead, at worst, it was a complete shambles, again, let's not go any further there than The Grateful Dead. In essence, you can define psychedelic music, at that time for certain, as truly experimental music. Drugs or no drugs.

So what does The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (WCPAEB) have to do with that whole thing except the word experimental in their name? Well, their Volume 2 album has, as do the other ones they came up within their existence. It is an album that can serve as a showcase of the concept of including everything, including two kitchen sinks, with practically all of it sticking comfortably in place.

WCPAEB were, and still are one of those West Coast bands that are often on the lips of psych fans, even today, who never really made it to the first tier of Rock music. Part of it had to do with the fact that there was a conceptual split within the band between the musically trained Harris brothers, Danny and Shaun, and the mercurial character of the band's leader and lyricist Bob Markley, whose initial claim to musical fame came through the fact that he was a rich kid from Texas.

Still, most of the time, and particularly on Volume 2 that dichotomy worked - the Harris brothers were able to transform Markley’s sometimes unorthodox ideas into psychedelic feature pieces. Go no further than “Suppose They Give a War and Nobody Came”. On paper, it sounds like an idea that is bound to fail - Markley recites a Franklin D. Roosevelt speech from 1936 over an archetypal fuzz guitar. Strangely, and for whatever reason, it works.

Elsewhere on the album it is a rollercoaster ride of all thing psych, from what some might consider ‘true psych’ of the songs like “Carte Blanche”, to a brilliant balladry of “Queen Nymphet” and early country rock of “Delicate Fawn”, the jazzed-up “Tracy Had a Hard Day Sunday” to “Smell of Incense”, possibly one of reference psychedelic songs of any generation of the genre.

Psych was an object of musical worship by its fans not only because of fuzz guitar riffs, but quite often due to the bewildering variety of musical elements included, and WCPAEB’s Volume 2 the essential proof why.

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