Although perhaps a little too similar to volume two of the highly regarded Nuggets series, Acid Drops, Spacedust, & Flying Saucers, compiled by the fine folks at Britain's (in fact, the world's) finest music magazine, Mojo, is the perfect introduction to the rise and fall of British psychedelia. Rather than chart the influence of British music on its surroundings and colonies (as done by Nuggets) Acid Drops takes an easier route. The Nuggets collection focused on all manner and strains of the old empire's R&B, freakbeat, mod, and psychedelic scenes, whilst Acid Drops dissects and inspects the solely British mutation from beat/pop (signified by the Kinks' quasi-raga "See My Friends") into full-blown psychedelia (from the most commercial to most underground of guises). For the hardened collector and avid fanatic, Space Dust will bring few surprises. There's a hefty weight of British hits and a delve through the type of major-label material that missed the mark at the time but has since become legendary through contributor Phil Smee's '80s psychedelic compilation series, Rubbles, that anyone bitten by the bug will be familiar with. What will make purchase of this -- it must be said, rather cheaply packaged box -- essential is the superior sound quality (all tracks have been remastered at Abbey Road) and the interesting liner booklet, which if not a little skimpy, features a superb essay in which Jon Savage chronicles the evolution and devolution of British music's most quirky, imaginative, and brief of genres.
Alongside the short running time (why the hell have EMI held back to only 18 tracks per CD, whilst Rhino made the effort to fill their Nuggets set to spilling point?) and minor quips, like the edited beginning of the Smoke's tremolo-infused classic "My Friend Jack" and the inclusion of the pretty much non-psychedelic "Granny Takes a Trip" by jug band the Purple Gang, this is still a very decent set which takes into account the different sides of U.K. psych. And as said, although rather preliminary for those seeking new thrills, this holds the very essence of the cause and effect the genre had on the changing face of the British music scene from 1965-1969. Practically none of this music has aged badly, and for some reason, however pompous and ridiculous a lot is, it still sounds as invigorating as the day it was recorded. Timeless.