The Five Day Week Straw People

The Five Day Week Straw People

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To read some pieces in collector magazines, you'd think this was one of the Holy Grails of British psychedelia. It's not; it's average at best mod-pop-psych that's a bit on the heavy rock side. The mixture of thick guitar chords, moderately distorted hard psychedelic guitar leads, vocal harmonies, and John Du Cann's resonant vocals faintly recalls some of Jack Bruce's poppiest efforts with Cream. There's sometimes a singsongy, observational flavor typical of British psychedelic pop circa 1967-1968, generated in part by the album's loose concept of detailing in snapshot fashion the lives of average people (i.e., "straw people") during an average weekend. So, there are tunes about having a party and waiting for the postman, as well as an ode to "Sunday Morning?" that borrows liberally from the melody of Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco." The songs are routine and dressed up with periodic psychedelic effects like explosions and wah-wah guitars. It's impressive that the material was written in a week and recorded in one day, but the remarkable speed of execution doesn't necessarily mean it's that interesting. The CD reissue on Angel Air includes nine bonus tracks of demos by the Attack, Du Cann's previous (and, actually, simultaneous) mod-psych band. Those demos are, like Five Day Week Straw People, fair and rather generic 1967 British psych with mod, pop, and nascent heavy rock influences, but perhaps a bit more modish and thought-out in construction.

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