Neutral Spirits

Neutral Spirits

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AllMusic Review by

Neutral Spirits is pretty amateur stuff. Occasionally that is a winsome (if never quite winning) attribute. As inept as the musicianship is -- and "garage rock" almost seems like too generous a description -- there is also a certain swirling, go-go, boogie appeal to some of the music, especially when taken in extremely short spoonfuls, and the countercultural and political sentiments (anti-Vietnam War in "Flying," for instance), while banal and unsophisticated, at least have some degree of period charm. And then also, hamfisted jams like "Power City" and the brief drums-and-guitar sketch "Scenic Void" have the sort of unvarnished, elemental grooves that an enterprising hip-hop producer should pilfer and use. More frequently, however, listening to this reissue leaves you wondering what about it, exactly, inspired its return to the catalog. For one, it's much too skimpy, at just over 27 minutes, to merit a straight reprint. And yet, at the same time that seems like too much, since it is so skimpy musically. There just are not more than a handful of those 27 minutes that are even remotely memorable. There is plenty of thick fuzz guitar for fetishists, but there are no melodies to speak of, let alone songs, the singer barely flirts with competence, and the drummer apparently was still in the process of learning his second trick, since everything here has almost the exact same beat played at almost exactly the same tempo. The music is supposedly "Doors-inspired," according to '60s collectors and merchandisers, but it unfortunately is not remotely in the same neighborhood, quality-wise.

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