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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). The 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 freak-outs 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.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s

If a band could ever be called an average psychedelic group, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band fit the bill. This somewhat mysterious collection of L.A. players issued several albums in the late '60s that plugged into the era's standard folk-rock, freakouts, and trippy lyrics without establishing a solid identity of their own. But because the currents they were riding were themselves so inspired, average in this case doesn't necessarily mean bad. They cut a fair number of tracks, moving without...
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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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