Saint Steven

Over the Hills

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Saint Steven, aka Steve Cataldo, was a fair but not a striking singer/songwriter. In common with quite a few other obscure psychedelic albums of the late '60s, there's the feeling that he was striving for some sort of grand statement that wasn't supported or articulated by the material. His tunes skirt between hard rock riffs and folk-rockish reflection, with a bit of frightening Gothic cathedral-style classicism thrown in. While they're modestly engaging (as on "Grey Skies"), they don't stick to you. The periodic sound effects, like elephant roars and soundbites from the 1968 Republican Convention, come off more as gratuitous trickery than ingenious enhancements. There are semi-suite-like productions of the two LP sides, divided into sides called "Over the Hills" and "The Bastich," but side two of Abbey Road this ain't. In its way, it reflects the disoriented confusion of the period, but disoriented confusion can be mundane as well as exciting. It's considered a highly desirable psychedelic collectible by some, but it's not very intriguing.

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