The Tages


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Tages were more well equipped than most other bands from Scandinavia to move with the times after the beat era waned, considering that unlike most such bands, they sometimes sounded pretty close to an actual mid-'60s British group. Considering how adeptly they'd absorbed British Invasion styles, it's unsurprising that the 1967 album Studio finds them getting into much more florid pop-psychedelia, with various ornate production dabs, bouncy whimsy in much of the songwriting, and touches of soul and orchestration in the arrangements. Perhaps it's a testament to 1967 British psychedelia being harder to assimilate and copy than Merseybeat or mod, but though this is a carefully produced and ambitious set of songs, the material itself just isn't up to the level of the probable inspiration. None of the songs are either great or lousy; they're just average examples of approaches that were in fashion, though a bit of stomping mod rock remained in "It's My Life." More typical were upbeat midtempo cuts that sounded something like audio equivalents to amiable strolls by hip tourists through London, the Baroquely orchestrated "People Without Faces" being one of the better ones. "It's in a Dream" slightly recalls the late-period Zombies with its marriage of deft classical-flavored keyboards and harmonized pop/rock, though it's not up to the Odessey and Oracle level. You can't fault the craft of the insertion of some of the period production tricks, like the distorted psychedelic guitar that gives way to Renaissance piping, hazy harmonies, keyboard plunks, and backward blips on "Seeing with Love." Certainly the weirdest track is "She Is a Man," and not just with respect to its backward guitars, psychedelic echoes, and instrumental break of ambient conversation; it certainly seems to be a portrait of a transvestite, if a pretty confused one, three years before the Kinks' "Lola."

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