The liner notes make a game effort at presenting The Association as a band that could be meaningfully psychedelic when it wanted to be. Accordingly, this 15-song compilation draws from the trippier efforts of their first three albums (originally issued in 1966 and 1967). The fact of the matter is, though, that these guys offered about as much of a genuine psychedelic experience as smoking a banana peel. Being a pop-rock band in Southern California during this period, they couldn't help but reflect the era's wilder ethos in some modestly adventurous arrangements and slightly ambitious lyrics. Still, more often than not, this collection sounds like nothing so much as a psychedelic Four Freshmen, dominated by frothy harmonies that are as reliable an indication of substance as the whipped cream on a lemon meringue pie. The material is not downright obnoxious -- it's somewhat pleasant -- but with three exceptions, the songs pass from one ear to the other as easily as whipped cream goes through the digestive system. Two of those three exceptions, "Along Comes Mary" and "Windy," are available on any greatest hits collection; the other, the haunting raga-rocker (and minor hit single) "Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies," was reissued in much stronger company on Rhino's Nuggets Volume 5.
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