Harmony Grass

This Is Us

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Harmony Grass' sole LP has a few songs from their late-1960s singles (including "Move in a Little Closer," their only British hit), and it's also filled out by a few Tony Rivers originals and an assortment of covers. This odd, occasionally impressive and sometimes saccharine mix of pop/rock casts the group among the few British exponents of sunshine pop. Sometimes the airplane-commercial harmonies and cheeriness is vacuous. On the other hand, Rivers proves himself a competent emulator of the Beach Boys' most upbeat material on "Summer Dreaming" and "My Little Girl," as well as the Pet Sounds era on "I've Seen to Dream." On yet another hand, with "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "Tom Dooley," and the weird "(It Ain't Necessarily) Byrd Avenue," the group sounds like a college glee club, here to entertain for your social function, backed by extremely competent studio musicianship. On "Ballad of Michael," Rivers grapples with somewhat more serious lyrical themes in a tale of a philandering bachelor, but the song also finds him trying to squeeze too many words into too little space. All of the pieces included here, as well as some non-LP single sides and three 1968 tracks by Tony Rivers & the Castaways, are on RPM's The Tony Rivers Collection Vol. 2.

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