Andy Kim

Rainbow Ride

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If How'd We Ever Get This Way established the Andy Kim sound -- as catchy as bubblegum, but with a distinct foundation in Brill Building-styled mainstream pop, not far afield from Neil Diamond -- on his second album Rainbow Ride he expanded that sound without essentially altering it. Again, most of the album was devoted to Andy Kim and Jeff Barry compositions -- there was one cover here, the Everly Brothers' "I Wonder If I Care as Much" -- but that doesn't necessarily mean they were co-compositions. Five of the cuts are credited to Kim alone, two are Barry solo works, with the other four being joint efforts by these collaborators, but this level of detail is only apparent when the credits are studied: their work fits together so comfortably there are no seams between the songs, they derive from the same sensibility. This sensibility remains commercial pop at its core, but Rainbow Ride, as Richie Unterberger astutely points out in his liner notes for the Collectors Choice reissue, does find Kim and Barry incorporating many fashionable rock sounds of the late '60s into Kim's signature sound. There are swirling, phased guitars, wah-wahs pumping in the background, electric sitars, harpsichords and other psychedelic flourishes all throughout the album, peaking in the woozy narcotic breakdowns on "I Want You" that sound nothing less than a miniature approximation of Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" freak-out, but it was recorded before that monumental metal anthem. There are also hints of serious material, best heard in Barry's "Eve of Destruction"-styled protest folk-rock "Nobody's Ever Going Anywhere," but Rainbow Ride remains as purely pop as its predecessor: it just has a broader sonic palette filled with vivid colors. That psychedelic coloring might date the album in a pleasant way, but overall the album has aged well because the songs are strong beneath the production. "Wonderful You" has a soulful punch worthy of the Box Tops, the fuzztoned "Please Be True" -- itself a slight rewrite of the themes of the Beatles' "Run for Your Life" -- has a real sense of urgency, while the title track comes across like a psychedelicized version of the early Monkees. Some of this may drift or meander -- nowhere more so than on the Latin-tinged closer "To Be Continued," an ill-fated twist on Herb Alpert -- but most of Rainbow Ride is as catchy and memorable as the music on How'd We Ever Get This Way, making this a more than worthy follow-up to one of the best overlooked mainstream pop albums of the late '60s.

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