Various Artists

The Super K Kollection, Vol. 2

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This second volume of obscure singles from bubblegum mavens Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffrey Katz proves that this producing duo had ambitions beyond just bubblegum pop. Like its predecessor, The Super K Kollection, Vol. 2 downplays straight bubblegum tracks in favor of songs with a strong psychedelic or garage rock feel to them. The strongest tracks in the garage rock vein are "My Fire Department Needs a Fireman," a fiery track from the Shadows of Knight that marries a vicious guitar/organ attack to a catchy singalong chorus, and "The Gung Gung Song," a novelty-styled nonsense word singalong by the Carnaby Street Runners that layers swirling organ leads over a tight, soulful groove from the rhythm section. The most memorable psychedelic tracks are "Go Out in the Rain," a 1910 Fruitgum Company track that contrasts folk-styled acoustic guitar with a soul music bassline before sneaking in a surprising xylophone hook, and "Itchy, Itchy," a track from Professor Morrison's Lollipop that layers a spacy, effects-laden vocal over some rollicking piano riffs. Unfortunately, there are a lot of lesser tracks to sit through between the aforementioned highlights: "Bingo Bingo" is a tired bubblegum track from the 1910 Fruitgum Company that is overly cutesy even by bubblegum standards, and "You Hurt Me Girl" is a maudlin ballad from ex-British Invasion hitmakers Freddie & the Dreamers. Overall, none of the material presented here is as catchy or inspired as the classic Kasenetz-Katz hits. Because of this second-rate level of quality, The Super K Kollection, Vol. 2 can only be recommended to the most devoted fans of pop obscurities.

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