Crystal Circus

In Relation to Our Times

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While not a major find, this collection of material -- all previously unreleased, save the two songs ("In Relation (To Our Times)" and "Merry-Go-Round") from their 1967 single -- isn't at all bad pop-psychedelia. It's rather like finding an unreleased Strawberry Alarm Clock album that might make a decent candidate for the best LP that group ever made, had it borne the Strawberry Alarm Clock billing. Indeed, the Strawberry Alarm Clock influence is pervasive, especially on "In Relation (To Our Times)," but also on "Don't Say I Didn't Warn You," which sounds like the ultimate cross between the Strawberry Alarm Clock and the hardest-rocking sides by Paul Revere & the Raiders. Most of the other songs have nice, bouncy tunes with major/minor melodic alternations; pleasing sunshine pop harmonies; and appropriately psychedelic organ, fuzz guitars, trippy orchestration, vocal distortion, and odd effects. The lyrics might be superficially far-out, but again, impressions like those recorded in "Circus and Zoo World" are a good complement for this kind of candy pop-psych. Occasionally, they get into more of a straightforward garage-ish hard rock-soul blend, like on "Never Again," but it's the more ethereal and poppy numbers that stand out.