While the Beatles' American breakthrough in 1964 came as a surprise to many folks who weren't aware that rock & roll was thriving outside the United States, one of the secondary consequences of the British Invasion was the discovery that rock was a worldwide phenomenon. Non-English speaking rockers generally didn't have much luck breaking through in North America, but suddenly it became common knowledge that not only were there rock & roll bands in England, Ireland, and Australia, some of them were excellent. New Zealand also had its share of worthwhile bands in the beat era, and 1963-1968 not only gives one of the best Kiwi groups and their slightly complicated history their due, it also serves as an object lesson in how rock & roll grew and mutated during the '60s. The Four Fours were a well-scrubbed combo from Tauranga who started out in the early '60s playing a mixture of Brit-style pop tunes and guitar-driven instrumentals in the manner of the Ventures and the Shadows. By 1965, their sound was getting tougher and moodier on tunes like "You're My Baby (And Don't You Forget It)"; "This Time Tomorrow" showed they were learning a few tricks from the Byrds, and a Stones-style R&B swagger enlivened "Don't Print My Memoirs." In September 1967, the Four Fours left New Zealand for London, and changed their name to the significantly cooler the Human Instinct. The Human Instinct developed a more ambitious sound -- tight rock with shades of freakbeat -- on their three singles for Mercury Records (especially "The Rich Man" and "Can't Stop Around"), and by the time they jumped ship for the more progressive Deram label, they'd leapt headfirst into pop-psychedelia with "A Day in My Mind's Mind" and a solid cover of the Byrds' "Renaissance Fair." Just as rock & roll went from Coca-Cola to LSD in the space of roughly five years, so did the Four Fours and the Human Instinct, and with 1963-1968, you get to hear the evolution happen before your very ears. Actually, it's more like a devolution, since this collection starts with the final Human Instinct tracks for Deram and walks backward to the first New Zealand releases by the Four Fours. But these 25 tracks offer a thorough study of this group's formative period, and under guitarists Bill Ward and Dave Hartstone, they approached their music with confidence and energy. This collection signs off before the Human Instinct moved into hard rock and prog territory in the '70s, but it excellently documents their time as a singles act, and the liner notes boast a lively history of their time in New Zealand and the U.K. 1963-1968 is a must for those interested in New Zealand rock history, and should please anyone with an appetite for the beat-era sounds of the '60s.