Not the 1977-1979 S.F. punk greats, but the 1966-1969 New Zealand chart-bangers who made only two psych-pop LPs, both of which still sound groovy today. Their best known hit and debut single, 1967 NZ #7 "Everyone's Gonna Wonder," leads off this nearly complete collection; it's the kind of crystal-pop side of the era that still sounds as great today as the more obstreperous elements of their later recordings -- like a tons-better "Five O'Clock World" with more mollifying tendencies. After that, both of their 1968 albums, Electric Recording and Medallion, appear in their entirety (minus one track from the former) as well as their final singles that appeared just before the grind and lack of remuneration commensurate with their success took them down. (This CD ignores their mostly-covers live-in-the-studio LP, Dial AAA-Alive! Avengers in Action at Ali Baba's.) Electric Recording is later Beach Boys-esque flower-power pop minus the hippie lyrics, with swirling mood organ, light bass and ride cymbal, strumming acoustics and jabbing electric leads, and most of all, double-tracked sweet and sour vocals. It's not far off from their Kiwi contemporaries, the Fourmyula. As the CD progresses, though, into the better Medallion, the band is likely doing the drugs alluded to on the first LP's "Water Pipe": Songs such as "Days of Pearly Spencer" and the single "Daniel the Postman" unveil more trippy interests (see also "1941," or the Spanish trumpets of "Love Hate Revenge"). Whatever the case, you can enjoy the serene fare that made them one of their nation's most popular groups, one still collected by fans there and far away.
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