Various Artists

Mind Expanders, Vol. 2

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"In search of the ecstatic kinetic bombastic multi-freaked up outer spacial groove" claims the subtitle wrapped around a young lady clad in leopard-print spandex and stretched over a bongo. OK. Inside are 17 cuts of psychedelic, wacky, or kitsch instrumentals (the right adjective depends on the track, and on your appreciation of this genre). Vol. 2 in the Mind Expanders series doesn't live up to the expectations set by Vol. 1, but it does have its moments. However, to get to these moments, you must willing to jump over two hurdles. The first one is the sound quality, which can be downright poor. For example, there is a loud level of surface noise throughout the Stradivarius' "Walkin' in the Bach's World" -- the intended lead-off track of this collection. It sounds like it's been lifted from an old acetate, without any attempt to clean it up. In fact, surface noise is audible throughout most of the album. The second hurdle is the fact the two halves of the album have been swapped on the disc, which means that tracks one through nine announced on the tray card and in the liner notes are actually tracks 9 through 17 on the disc, and vice-versa. Luckily, the liner notes are descriptive enough to let you untangle the mess. All that being said, there is a handful of fun tracks to enjoy here, like Robert Gretsch's "Galaxie Guitar," Timezone's "Spacewalker," and Thomas Natschinski und Seine Gruppe's "Kosmos 354" (all Perrey-Kingsley-like space pop ditties), or the surprising steel drum-led "Groovy Beat" by the Shell Street Orchestra ("steeling" a couple of bars from Sly & the Family Stone). Also, some of these tracks try so hard to sound sleazy it's hilarious (The Renegades' "Mad Dog," the porn flick-ready "High Life" by Bauer Productions). All in all, a fun collection if you like this cheesy stuff, though seriously marred by sub-par production and quality control.

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