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.
by Jack Rabid