Bob Smith

The Visit

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Double LPs never were the best commercial options for debut albums, but it can't be said that Bob Smith didn't have a lot to say on The Visit, filling up four sides with various shades of psychedelic rock. That doesn't mean that what he had to say was that compelling. He sings in a serious, portentous voice, as is suitable for songs that are psychedelic sermons of sort, offering abstract and somewhat stern philosophical advice. While eclectic and accomplished (with Don Preston of the Mothers of Invention and a young Daryl Dragon among the backup musicians), the music is fairly standard late-'60s/early-'70s heavy psychedelic rock, sometimes seeming as if it's trying to bisect the Doors with the eeriest moods of early Tim Buckley. There are plenty of tempo changes, and the grinding (sometimes wah-wahing) hard rock guitar and organ are embellished by flutes, Mellotron, vibes, and spooky sound effects. Occasionally the tracks lean harder in a certain direction; "Source You Blues" merges ponderous late-'60s British blues-rock with Jim Morrison-Tim Buckley vocalizing, while "India Slumber" riffs off tuneless psychedelic improvisation à la Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive," but to the point of annoying gimmickry. It all sounds sort of like a guy determined to land a contract with Elektra Records in the late 1960s, though one granted far more studio time to demo his songs than most such aspirants. The record does have a good reputation among some collectors of obscure psychedelia, and a couple of the better tracks, like "The Wishing Song" (which with its prominent Mellotron is like Tim Buckley being backed by the Moody Blues), wouldn't be bad choices for compilations. It's ironic, though, that for all of Smith's tendencies to sing like a psychedelic preacher, he was very much a follower of musical trends rather than a leader.

blue highlight denotes track pick