Greater California

All the Colors

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On All the Colors, a pop/rock quintet from Southern California is intent on "evoking the sounds of summer," as a sleeve note put it. That sounds familiar. The summer in question, according to the album's press release, is the summer of 1976, when the future members of the band Greater California would sing along to the songs of AM radio from the backseats of their mothers' cars. If so, those radios weren't playing "Afternoon Delight" or Frampton Comes Alive! They must have been playing the Beatles compilation Rock & Roll Music and the Beach Boys' retro-styled 15 Big Ones, with its advertising slogan, "Brian's Back." In fact, it's not the summer of 1976 that All the Colors suggests at all, it's the summer of 1966, the summer of Revolver and Pet Sounds, as well as Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and the Byrds' Fifth Dimension. It's the music on those albums that is evoked by All the Colors, an eclectic, pre-psychedelic sound of chiming guitars and rich harmonies, elaborate musical structures, unusual instruments such as xylophones and the occasional horn, and exotic touches, particularly an Indian influence. Of course, such music can't just be whipped up on a whim, and this album, under construction for a year, comes years after Greater California's second album, Somber Wurlitzer. It is performed with sophistication and affection for the style, and if it seems like something lost in a time capsule from more than 40 years earlier, that could please both aging boomers (if they got a chance to hear it) and new fans looking for something beyond the usual indie fundamentals.

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