Good Morning Starshine

Strawberry Alarm Clock

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Good Morning Starshine Review

by Lindsay Planer

This is the fourth and final long-player of new material from Strawberry Alarm Clock (SAC). As with their previous discs, Good Morning Starshine is a mixed affair. Prior to recording the album, the band underwent a somewhat drastic personnel change -- replacing longtime members George Bunnell (bass/vocals) and Randy Seol (drums/vocals) with Jimmy Pitman (guitar/vocals) and Gene Gunnels (drums), respectively. Also of note is the fact that all of Bunnell's songwriting credits for material on this album actually belong to Gunnels. The music has shifted away from the mix of punky psychedelia such as "Love Me Again" and "The World Is on Fire," inheriting a much more aggressive, bluesy approach à la Grand Funk Railroad or even (gasp) MC5. Although there are sonic vestiges and remnants of the band's former self -- such as the disc's pseudo-hippie title track -- by all accounts this was the antithesis of what the band had been up until this point. The dichotomy in the material on Good Morning Starshine is indicative that SAC had pretty much run their course. With managerial and other behind-the-scenes issues continuing to plague them, there are no signs of cohesion within the grooves. The disc is certainly full of strong material, despite the decidedly aimless direction. "Small Package" is reminiscent of the band's sound, circa Wake Up...It's Tomorrow. Likewise, the song is a minor chord masterpiece in the same vein as their previous hit, "Tomorrow." The "California Girls" vocal tag is a nod to the Beach Boys, with whom SAC shared many a late-'60s performance stage. Additionally, either of the two versions of the mid-tempo rocker "Miss Attraction" would have been a welcome addition to their earlier releases. The free-form jamming and lead guitar lines are definitely reminiscent of early Spirit and the highly underrated Bay Area band Kak. The heavier and blues-influenced "Me and the Township," "Off Ramp Road Tramp," and "Hog Child" recall Blue Cheer and even later-era Moby Grape as much as they do the electric British blues of, say, Fleetwood Mac.

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