The Austin Chronicle


Reviewed by Greg Beets, May 7, 2004, Music

Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets From the WEA Vaults

(Rhino Handmade)

Come to the Sunshine: Soft Pop Nuggets From the WEA Vaults

(Rhino Handmade) Lenny Kaye's original 1972 Nuggets compilation venerated Sixties psychedelic garage-punk oddities, but remember, Nuggets also included Sagittarius' "My World Fell Down," which was performed by session cats like Glen Campbell instead of kids from the garage. Picking up this vein, the two latest Nuggets volumes, on the boutique, Internet-only Rhino Handmade, highlight the music establishment's novel attempts to reconcile psychedelia with the conservative dictums of Top 40 radio. Baker Knight & the Knightmares' "Hallucinations," for instance, equates bad LSD with unrequited love, while the Collectors' "Looking at a Baby" is a druggy regression fantasy positing infancy as nirvana. These are semiclever confections heightened by exploitation and kitsch. By contrast, Kim Fowley's "Strangers From the Sky" is an alien welcome mat that retains all its disconcerting weirdness. The Brass Buttons' "Hell Will Take Care of Her" is a breakup song reserved for the meanest of mean, and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's "Smell of Incense" (covered by Dallas' Southwest F.O.B.) is an ethereal summation of a girl's induction into psychedelic womanhood. Come to the Sunshine focuses on a more "adult" brand of psychedelia characterized by the softer, intricately arranged productions of the Curt Boettcher variety. The Everly Brothers do their best to get with the times on "Talking to the Flowers," while songwriter Paul Williams turns on with the Holy Mackerel's fey cautionary tale, "Scorpio Red." The Cookies' "Wounded" is a fascinating, girl-group take on psychedelic pop performed by former members of Ray Charles' Raelettes, and the Boettcher-produced Lee Mallory track, "Take My Hand," is as effervescent as the idealized love it seeks to embody. Nothing here qualifies as era-defining, but there's plenty of joy to be found in these two troves of castaways and curiosities.

(Both) ***.5

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