Under Milkwood

Under Milkwood

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    6
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Under Milkwood's sole, and rare, album is -- like so many obscure late-'60s psychedelic records -- a pretty aimless, scattershot effort that tries to cover too much ground and ends up running aground, though there are hints of good ideas from time to time. Heavily derivative of bigger and better California acid rock bands, it stumbles hardest the heavier it tries to get, some of the songs coming close to drowning in overwrought bluesy improvisational passages. Weirdly, they devote equal or greater attention to bittersweet, acoustic-flavored folk-rock -- equally derivative as their hard rock flights, probably, but much more pleasant on the ear. The female vocals, and occasionally the male-female harmonies, are heavily indebted to Jefferson Airplane in particular, and also at times to the much lesser known (at the time) Fairport Convention, who coincidentally or not were also on A&M. Yet the pretty folky songs -- "Changing Seasons" and "Lost Youth," for instance -- aren't so pretty or outstanding that they demand a hearing by Airplane or Fairport fans, and while the occasional classical melodics (on "Parade") and jazzy saxophone add unexpected spices, they're not so imaginative or well-integrated to be worthy of high praise.

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