The World in a Sea Shell

Strawberry Alarm Clock

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

The World in a Sea Shell Review

by Lindsay Planer

The third long-player from Strawberry Alarm Clock runs the gamut of pop music. This unfortunately detracts from the album's cohesion instead of unifying it. As with their previous release Wake Up...It's Tomorrow, The World in a Sea Shell offers a few criminally overlooked tracks. However, for the most part, the contents vacillate between the saccharine sweetness of the mid-tempo opening track "Sea Shell" and the overly orchestrated "An Angry Young Man" and "Home Sweet Home." Any cohesive momentum from the first two LPs has seemingly been discarded for the external input of different writers. Increasingly, the band began to turn externally for material. This was partially due to pressures from producers Bill Holmes and Frank Slay, who brought in Roy Freeman to write lyrics for the band because -- in the words of bassist and composer George Bunnell -- "they thought we were awful at it." Contributions also come from the somewhat unlikely team of Carole King and Toni Stern. "Blues for a Young Girl Gone" and "Lady of the Lake" are akin to the stuff the pair was concurrently writing for the likes of the Monkees. Both suffer the double-edged sword of having such a strong voice written into them. They end up sounding more like the Mike Curb Congregation than any of the other material on the disc. Saving the album are the kitschy "Barefoot in Baltimore," as well as the lost rock & roll masterpiece "Love Me Again" -- a spirited number that could easily be mistaken for a discarded Buffalo Springfield track. The latter features the return of the classic Strawberry Alarm Clock noir vibe -- replete with haunting vocal harmonies, over-amped fuzz guitar leads, and harpsichord-drenched accents that drive the tune front to back. The fitting "Eulogy" is a final group effort and draws on the same strengths as "Pretty Song from Psych-Out" and "The Curse of the Witches" from Wake Up...It's Tomorrow.

blue highlight denotes track pick