Mr. G 1968 / Out-Sider Music 2015
Socially conscious, if naive, psychedelia from NYC young turks who got their heads fed.
Today, college boys from Big Apple, stranded between the Summer of Love and Woodstock, might not seem you regular acid-rock issue, yet this quintet’s two albums deliver exactly enough of that to have gained cult status over the years. Balancing cynical lyricism with political commentary, their debut is remarkable also for its deliberately hazy sound which submerges serrated guitar riffs into a thick organ-and-piano layer shot through with an accentuated bass. Deceptively innocent, thanks mostly to Joe Groff’s nonchalant singing on the likes of “Simple Way,” it eventually produces a lysergic effect, so the “Baby, welcome to my mind” line on “Better Way” is an invitation to trip rather than share emotions.
“Girl That Cannot Love” confirms this point in a quite theatrical manner by growing from sparse to frenetic before calming down again and striking once more in the end, as if to contrast the vaudeville elegance of “I’ve Found Someone” rippling with piano joy. Yet while the fuzzy “Cycle Epic” paints fantastically alluring nightmares over a hypnotic tune, it’s the title track’s march that builds a real fear, and that’s where the ensemble’s emotionality is revealed in the juxtaposition of a dirge and reckless rocking. In such a context, “Our Country’s Still O.K.” doesn’t sound optimistic – it’s a government-lambasting funereal lullaby – whereas “No One Follows The Daytime” glows in the dark leaving the peaceful aftertaste. Strange but nice.