Chuck & Mary Perrin

Next of Kin

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Sunshine pop fans might well prefer Chuck & Mary Perrin's second album, Next of Kin, to their far folkier debut, Brother & Sister, which had barely any rock instrumentation at all. However, this follow-up -- recorded in late 1969, a year after Brother & Sister had been cut, and likewise privately pressed in a run of just 500 copies -- was a letdown after the mild promise of its predecessor. It's a tame, at times drippy early soft rock/singer/songwriter-oriented album, slicking up the introspective, slightly melancholy close-harmony contemporary folk of their first album. Songs like "Sundance" have the escapist sentiments found throughout much sunshine pop, as well as the bordering-on-easy listening vocals and arrangements. It's not all marshmallow stuff, "Bye Bye Billy" reflecting the influence of Californian mellow rockers like Crosby, Stills & Nash (who sounded tough in comparison to the Perrins), and "Flying" affecting jazzier, more aggressive postures that nonetheless sound rather genteel. Both Next of Kin and Brother & Sister were combined onto one single-CD reissue, The Last Word, which also has a couple of songs that appeared on the 1970 various-artists compilation The Peoria Folk Anthology, Vol. 3.