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Quatrain (Expanded Editon)

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Album Review

The involvement of frequent Neil Young producer David Briggs, who produced and engineered Quatrain's sole record, is about the most interesting thing about this self-titled LP. It's very much a record of its time and place — late-'60s Los Angeles — in its mix of folk-rock, hard rock, and psychedelia, without any of those styles being particularly dominant. Frankly, however, the material is mediocre, and the way the band plays is competent but run-of-the-mill. Better than the hard rock tracks are the ones that lean in other directions, like "Unconquered Islands," which has a spaced-out British psychedelic feel somewhat akin to Arthur Brown (though without as distinguished vocals or instrumentation). This and a few other cuts, like "Try to Live Again," can also bring to mind some of the things Noel Redding did outside of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. "Fields of Love" has a nice sunny hippie folk-rock feel a little akin to some of late-'60s Love, and the beatific "Rollin'" sounds more like a Bay Area band than an L.A. one. That still leaves a bunch of less attractive hard rockers to wade through, however, and the vocals are never a strong suit on a set that never seems to find sure-footed direction. [The 2008 CD reissue on Sundazed adds historical liner notes and eight previously unissued bonus tracks of unspecified origin — not even the dates of these are listed, though the band's website indicates that some of them are from sessions done with Briggs in the 1970s, and some of them of more recent vintage. Some of these obviously seem like not only demos, but also rather unpolished compositions. Most of these, like those on the Quatrain LP, are by drummer Jim Lekas, and most of them don't measure up to the modest standard of the original album.]


Formed: 1965 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s

Los Angeles group Quatrain issued an obscure album in 1969 mixing period Southern Californian folk-rock, psychedelic, and hard rock influences, produced and engineered by David Briggs (most famed for his work as producer with Neil Young). Quatrain grew out of the group the Human Jungle, who issued a couple obscure singles while signed to the Double Shot label, though they usually went under the name the Berries. Briggs found the band while they were doing a residency at the Topanga Corral not far...
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Quatrain (Expanded Editon), Quatrain
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