The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band

Part One

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The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's first album for Reprise was the best of the group's career, in large part because it was the most song-oriented. It was still plenty weird, almost to the point of stylistic schizophrenia, but when you got down to it, much of the record was comprised of fairly catchy songs in the neighborhood of two and three minutes. At times they sounded like reasonably normal, fairly talented Byrds-like folk-rockers ("Transparent Day," P.F. Sloan's "Here's Where You Belong"); at others, a Kinks-like garage band ("If You Want This Love"); and at others, a fey Baroque pop outfit (the orchestrated "Will You Walk With Me"). There was an undercurrent of unsettling weirdness and even paranoia, though, in some cuts with otherwise pleasing tunes, like "Shifting Sands," with its sizzling distorted guitars; "I Won't Hurt You," with its heartbeat bass and disconnected vocals; and "Leiyla," where a standard teen garage rocker suddenly gets invaded by spoken dialog that seems to have been lifted from a vampire B-movie. The cover of Frank Zappa's "Help, I'm a Rock" flung them into freakier pastures, emulated convincingly on the group original "1906," an apt soundtrack to a bummer acid trip with its constant spoken refrain, "I don't feel well." It's true that all but one of these songs (the nondescript "'Scuse Me, Miss Rose," written by famed Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash/Simon & Garfunkel producer Bob Johnston) is on the Transparent Day compilation. But there are good reasons to consider buying the Sundazed 2001 CD reissue: The thorough liner notes start to unravel the history of this mysterious band, and mono single mixes of "Help, I'm a Rock" and "Transparent Day" are tacked on as bonus tracks.

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