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Rhino Hi-Five: The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - EP

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band

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Album Review

Raw, sometimes sloppy material by this enigmatic psychedelic cult band appeared on an extremely rare debut album in 1966 (their first LP for Reprise, Part One, is usually considered their first recording). This 22-track compilation reissues that first album on CD, adding 11 other rare tracks from the 1965-1967 era, most previously unreleased. West Coast Pop Art were always a strange act, and this collection does nothing to tarnish that perception. It's not so much the weirdness of the sound — they could be plenty weird per se on Zappaesque freakouts like "Insanity" (co-penned by Kim Fowley), but only occasionally. It's more the sheer unpredictable range of the material. One minute they're attacking "Louie, Louie" and the classic jazz instrumental "Work Song" with all the finesse of teenagers in their bedroom; the next they're doing pretty psych-pop tunes with a bizarre edge, like "I Won't Hurt You"; then there are the Dylan covers, which are approached as if they are Yardbirds tunes, with splashes of feedback and hard rock/R&B arrangements. And then there's an original baroque pop number worthy of the Left Banke or late-period Zombies ("She Surely Must Know"), a sharp, witty country-tinged rocker ("Sassafras"), and covers of the Left Banke's "She May Call You Up Tonight" and the mawkish "Funny How Love Can Be." No stylistic consistency whatsoever, in other words, but plenty of wacky energy, and occasional actual inspiration. Which makes this hard to recommend to anyone other than psychedelic junkies. But if you fit under that umbrella, it's not bad at all, though wildly erratic.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

One of the more offbeat acts to emerge during the psychedelic era, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band were certainly eclectic and ambitious enough to live up to their slightly clumsy moniker, capable of jumping from graceful folk-rock to wailing guitar freakouts to atonal, multilayered, avant-garde compositions at a moment's notice, but they also reflected a strongly divided creative...
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Rhino Hi-Five: The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - EP, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
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