The Electric Prunes

Underground

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According to Electric Prunes members Jim Lowe and Mark Tulin, producer Dave Hassinger enjoyed enough success as a result of the group's early hit singles and their subsequent debut album that he was too busy to spend much time with them as they were recording the follow up, and that was arguably a good thing for the band. While Underground didn't feature any hit singles along the lines of "I Had to Much to Dream (Last Night)," it's a significantly more consistent work than the debut, and this time out the group was allowed to write five of the disc's twelve songs, allowing their musical voice to be heard with greater clarity. As on their first LP, the Electric Prunes' strongest asset was the guitar interplay of Jim Lowe, Ken Williams and James "Weasel" Spagnola, and while they became a bit more restrained in their use of fuzztone, wah-wah and tremolo effects, there's a unity in their attack on Underground that's impressive, and the waves of sound on "Antique Doll," "Big City" and " "Children of Rain" reveal a new level creative maturity (though they could make with a wicked, rattling fuzz on "Dr. Do-Good"). If Underground ultimately isn't as memorable as the Electric Prunes' first album, it's a matter of material -- while the outside material that dominated the debut was sometimes ill-fitting, it also gave them some stone classic tunes like "I Had Too Much to Dream" and "Get Me to the World on Time," and the band themselves didn't have quite that level of songwriting chops, while the hired hands didn't deliver the same sort of material for Underground. Still, the album shows that the Electric Prunes had the talent to grow into something more mature and imaginative than their reputation suggested, and it's all the more unfortunate that the group's identity would be stripped from them for the next album released under their name, Mass in F Minor.

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