Time-tested optimism gets restored in pop-psychedelia brought from the days of yore into here and now.
It’s been more than a decade since this ensemble lost the last member of their early line-up, yet the players he personally picked for concert duties carry on the legacy that the band began amassing in the ’60s and stopped supplying the charts with in the mid-’70s. Leaving former glories behind, the collective resorted to performing on the oldies circuit, giving the audience their final studio platter back in 1982. However, forty years later, the veterans discovered the songs people used to love back in the day still feel like a vital force, and decided to deliver fresh versions of the group’s erstwhile smashes – and invite a few guests, legendary and otherwise, to detail the familiar material with much gusto.
Not that the quartet really needed to reach for other artists’ input, because contemporary takes on this record’s titular cut or opener “Wait A Million Years” – available alongside remixes – feel as effervescently magical as their originals did, but when, respectively, THE FUZZTONES and THE COURETTES sprinkle the classics with nuances, the shining surface of what singer Mark Dawson and his esteemed colleagues lay down seems to morph into something different – cinematically groovier. So when, alternately, Wayne Kramer’s fiery licks and THE KVB’s cold lacquer spice up “Midnight Confessions” before NIGHT BEATS scrap festive polish off “Temptation Eyes” by drenching it in funereal filigree, and DEAD GHOSTS wrap “Sooner Or Later” in twang and fuzzy fog, the favorites reveal previously unseen facets.
Left to their own devices, the band excel in rendering “Bella Linda” dramatic, Dusty Hanvey’s strings and Larry Nelson’s ivories reaching for orchestral grandeur, and embrace brass-painted soulfulness on “Heaven Knows” before letting “Things I Should Have Said” bristle with Latino-tinctured psychedelia. With vestiges of their halcyon days’ innocence at the fore, the veterans sound reinvigorated – and it’s so good to find them enter the fray again: hopefully, the foursome will come up with new songs to match the old ones.