Recorded in the midst of 1966, naturally after the spring release of their debut but before "Pushin' Too Hard" climbed into the national charts in the spring of 1967, A Web of Sound finds the Seeds pushing their sound into new dimensions, happily keeping pace with their Los Angeles contemporaries Love and the Doors. That the Seeds never received the respect accorded to their peers, either then or now, may be partially due to their lack of lyrical ambition, or it could be due to the Hollywood teenage sleaze that seeped out of this quartet led by garage rock icon Sky Saxon. Whatever the Seeds did, it sounded somewhat dirty, a maxim that applies to A Web of Sound even if it lacks singles as hard and filthy as "Pushin' Too Hard." Instead, this is a proto-psychedelic trip, kicked off by the cheerful, swirling "Mr. Farmer" -- the Kinks transplanted to a Middle American fable as refracted through the prism of the West Coast -- and "Pictures & Designs," which falls into the "Pushin' Too Hard" progression by its chorus. Thing is, A Web of Sound was cut long before that single turned into a hit, so neither "Pictures & Designs" in specific or the album as a whole functions as a cash-in. Rather, it's an expansion, downplaying grit and grunge in favor of expansive organ-fueled pop fantasias, minor-chord stomps, an elastic blues burner ("A Faded Picture"), and veiled odes to drugs and sex, all wrapped up via the monumental live-in-the-studio workout "Up in Her Room," nearly 15 minutes of sneering tension and release. "Up in Her Room" compares favorably to Love, and Saxon and Arthur Lee did run in the same circles, but decades later Saxon's downscale aspirations are blindingly apparent; he wasn't seeking transcendence, he was exploiting the moment. As such, A Web of Sound feels more thoroughly tied to 1966 than most of the Los Angeles rock of that year and that's both its blessing and its curse: it brings the era rushing back but it doesn't suggest any of the future. And yet, that transience is precisely why the album is so enjoyable. All the organs, all the minor-key riffs, all the desperate desire to be a star coalesce into a quintessentially L.A. trip, a harbinger of all the wasted good times that could be found on the Sunset Strip.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2