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Monclovia Review

by Jack Rabid

Rainbow Quartz's decision to compile this "best of" brew of the band's more psychedelic outings over their three LPs (with two new songs to start) is a jolly one, indeed. The Pillbugs may give sitars, pianos, farfisas, strings, and even some quaint backwards tape a workout, but they're unlike most Americans heading thataways--it isn't American/Nuggets psych-pop that inspires them. OK, there's a little Love ("Make Like Arthur Lee"), Byrds ("Hold Me So Near"), and Left Banke, but mostly, this is a beautifully British-inspired concoction. It's like the great "Tomorrow Never Knows"-era Beatles to S.F. Sorrow-Pretty Things, with fabulous, ambitious arrangements. Which means Monclovia stresses crystalline pop tunes, while tough-sounding guitars are nevertheless pristinely recorded. Like Dukes of Stratosphere, who they resemble, the Pillbugs sound like a different band from one song to the next within the genre -- even the Monkees on the fantastic "Charlie Blue Car" -- yet every song is consistently hummable and perfectly sung by Mark Mikel and friends. Jump on this.

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