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Brilliant Colors: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (Remastered)

The Neon Philharmonic

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Album Review

This double-CD set, Brilliant Colors: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings, should be a no-brainer of a purchase for anyone who is an admirer of Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle, Richard Harris' two Jimmy Webb collaborations (A Tramp Shining and The Yard Went on Forever), the Free Design's classic '60s albums, the extant fragments of Brian Wilson's previously lost SMiLE album, or any of the other classic examples of ornate late '60s psychedelic pop — not that what's here is exactly psychedelic, so much as baroque pop, with lots of elaborate, occasionally "out-there" orchestral arrangements that luxuriate in their own ornate weirdness, sort of like Parks' "The All Golden" or "Palm Desert." The Neon Philharmonic's two albums The Moth Confesses and The Neon Philharmonic are both represented (in superb sound) on the first CD, but the real treat is the 58-minute long second disc, which encompasses the group's singles — once one gets past the four cuts lifted off of The Moth Confesses, most of the rest is comprised of some very pretty and nicely produced non-LP single sides that are some of the most enjoyable unknown sunshine pop of the period, and, as Andy Zax, the annotator of this set observes, virtually a third LP in breadth and content. "Flowers for Your Pillow" and "To Be Continued" sound like lost Jimmy Webb productions circa 1967, and "A Little Love" is such a radiantly upbeat piece of pop-rock that it's amazing it didn't do more for the act as a single; the disc finishes with a string of radio promotion spots for the group. Not all of singles are as inventive or impressive as those tracks — a lot of it would make one think of what might've happened had Richard Carpenter been given a budget and the job of generating upbeat sunshine pop music without the services of his sister around, say, 1970 — and some of what's here shows signs of marking time, but the overall vibe of this music is still seductive thirty-some years later, if not quite as compelling as the very best work in this genre. Additionally, the annotation is so extensive and fascinating as to seriously enhance the value of the set — what it tells us about the music business and the era in which this music was generated makes it essential reading, almost more than some of the Neon Philharmonic's music is essential listening.

Biography

Formed: 1967

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Such was the influence of psychedelic music in the late '60s that even pop-based acts like the 5th Dimension, Kenny Rogers, and the Association felt obliged to put in their two cents' worth. Such was the case with the Neon Philharmonic, which was primarily a vehicle for songwriter/arranger/keyboardist Tupper Saussy. Also featuring singer Don Gant, the group had an easygoing, not-too-memorable Top 20 pop hit in mid-1969, "Morning Girl." Their debut album, The Moth Confesses, was a much stranger piece...
Full bio
Brilliant Colors: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (Remastered), The Neon Philharmonic
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  • 29,99 €
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Rock, Psychedelic, Pop/Rock
  • Released: 22 October 2003

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