7th Seal

Reflections

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Many rare garage rock albums appeared in the mid-'60s on tiny or vanity labels. While the 7th Seal's Reflections is fairly typical of these musically, it could be said to be even rarer than those LPs, as the material was recorded for the Justice label but not even released at the time. This 1999 LP -- itself not very easy to find, having been issued in a quantity of just 400 -- makes the tracks available, and is actually a little above the average for the genre, if (like most limited-circulation '60s garage LPs) not something that comes close to the best garage rock. The quintet play competently if not exactly slickly, and on the covers occupying about half this disc -- like the soul hits "Mustang Sally" and "In the Midnight Hour," the Yardbirds' "Mr. You're a Better Man Than I," and the Kinks' "Till the End of the Day" -- you can imagine them providing facsimiles of the day's popular tunes to satisfied customers at local dances. More interesting, though hardly great, are the originals, which are mostly in the "folk-punk" style -- raw folk-rock in the style of the arrangements, but with a moodier, even sullen teenage lyrical bent than the folk-rock that was actually making a commercial impact. They also get into some psychedelic rave-up sounds on the final minute of "Make Your Bed," but otherwise there's little indication that the wilder sounds of 1967 were making an impact on the group.