Before his time of Anglo teen dream stardom with Arrows, or the Vodka Collins phenomenon that helped blueprint glam rock, Alan Merrill was a teenage idol in Japan -- the first foreigner ever to merit that status; the first, in fact, to even claim success in a ferociously parochial domestic market. And this welcome reissue is where it all began, a solid blaze of distinctly Anglo-beat influenced pop songs that, above and beyond the expected Beatles/Badfinger/Move flavored stylisms, paint Merrill as an extraordinarily gifted songwriter. His melodies grab you first, but the lyrics quickly follow. "Movies" foreshadows Ray Davies' later "Celluloid Heroes" so deftly that it almost makes the Kinks' song redundant; and, if you can sometimes hear a bit too much Beatles in the eclecticism of the arrangements, still you can only applaud the fact that he pulls it off so successfully. Indeed, one wonders what he might have wrought had he only remained on this particular course. But a second solo album was abandoned after just a handful of demos (two appear among this set's bonus tracks), and Merrill strode off instead to form Vodka Collins, a new direction for a new decade.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson