Various Artists

Chocolate Soup for Diabetics Vol. 5

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Like Chocolate Soup for Diabetics Vol. 4, by claiming to be a continuation of the early-'80s three-part Chocolate Soup series of British psychedelic rarities, this volume both raises unrealistically high expectations and sets itself up for a fall. For while all 14 cuts are certainly obscure, they're neither nearly as good as what was found on the original three Chocolate Soup volumes, nor as psychedelic, with a strange affinity for soul-influenced 1966-68 British rock, throwing in some more mod-ish, mid-'60s sounds, too. It's not bad at all, just pretty average, and nothing you'd compare to either the best-famous or best-rare British rock of the time. Too, a few of these cuts have been reissued elsewhere, sometimes a few times, like the Mickey Finns' mod-psych stomper "Garden of My Mind" -- certainly one of the finest tracks here, but one that had been doing the rounds for a couple of decades before its appearance here. Another definite standout is the Ways & Means' "Breaking Up a Dream," perhaps the best Easybeats soundalike ever waxed (no doubt due in part to it being written by Grapefruit's George Alexander, brother of the Easybeats' George Young). There's not much exultant to say about the rest of the songs, all of them by bands that never got anywhere, with the marginal exception of St. Louis Union. It's still likely most collectors will find a few tracks they haven't heard, as well as a few neat flourishes, like the Who/Creation-type guitar solo in the Sons of Fred's "Baby What You Want Me to Do."

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