Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Electric Prunes - Underground (RAW PSYCHEDELIC 60s GARAGE US 1967)

2 March 2009

The Electric Prunes - Underground (RAW PSYCHEDELIC 60s GARAGE US 1967)

Electric_Prunes,underground,front,psychedelic-rocknroll,vox_wah_wah,banana,mantz,tucker,sweden,f_minor,feedback,lost_dreams,front"THE ELECTRIC PRUNES - UNDERGROUND" (RAW PSYCHEDELIC 60s GARAGE US 1967)

"Electric Prunes' Underground" is the second album by the Los Angeles based Psychedelic-Garage group "The Electric Prunes"; "The Electric Prunes" second long player is a significant improvement over their first and the album contains some of the most classic dark Psychedelia to ever have been recorded.
Although it never did as well as their debut record, which included their hit song "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)", Underground has since become regarded as a classic album of the 60's Psychedelic era.

Electric Prunes' Underground consists of a range of styles that come together to create a strangely cohesive album.
"The Electric Prunes" also takes on much more of a songwriting presence on "Underground".
Scribes "Mantz and Tucker" still contribute with three songs, but they don't have the massive presence that they did before.

Electric_Prunes,underground,front,psychedelic-rocknroll,vox_wah_wah,banana,mantz,tucker,sweden,f_minor,feedback,lost_dreamsHowever, at least a more consistent tone and recognizable group identity asserted itself, as the "The Electric Prunes" wrote half of the material.
In addition, the periodic airy-fairy vaudevillian misfires that had dotted the first LP were thankfully abolished.

Psychedelic sounds and textures are abundant throughout Underground, which take otherwise good songs to new levels.

"The Great Banana Hoax"
, which was written by singer "James Lowe" and bassist "Mark Tulin", starts the album off with a Psychedelic tour-de-force.
"The Electric Prunes" follows an awesome tom drum driven groove through several eerie and pleasingly disjointed sections of music.

"Hideaway", with its KILLER bass riff, and the demented "Dr. Do-Good", a crazed children's hour theme gone amok, were standouts in this regard, while "Long Day's Flight" is one of their best Psychedelic-Garage tracks.

On a more straightforward level, "I Happen to Love You" is one of the best obscure "Goffin-King" covers you're likely to hear, and one of the bluesiest too.

Electric_Prunes,underground,front,psychedelic-rocknroll,vox_wah_wah,banana,mantz,tucker,sweden,f_minor,feedback,lost_dreams,The_Great_Banana_HoaxAlthough the strange structure wouldn't have earmarked this one as a single, for those willing to follow "The Great Banana Hoax" is just as rewarding as the first album's classic singles.
More immediate is the closing track "A Long Day's Flight".
This relatively simple Garage rocker is performed with maximum impact and should have been the breakthrough single from the album.

In complete contrast, "I" (also the work of "Annette Tucker" and "Nancie Mantz" one of the most eclectic songwriting teams of their time, to judge from the manic extremes of their output) is subdued, brooding, particularly in its sustain-laden guitar leads.

"The Underground" sessions were not the easiest of times for "The Electric Prunes".
Guitarist "James Spagnola" also left during the sessions due to illness, replaced by "Mike Gannon", who appears on a couple of tracks ("Long Day's Flight" and "The Great Banana Hoax").
The record was not a huge seller, peaking at #172, and did not produce a hit single (although "Dr. Do-Good" bubbled under the Hot Hundred, reaching a measly #128).

Electric_Prunes,underground,front,psychedelic-rocknroll,vox_wah_wah,banana,mantz,tucker,sweden,f_minor,feedback,lost_dreams,The_Great_Banana_Hoax,James_LoweThe Electric Prunes; "Everybody Knows You're Not In Love" / "You've Never Had It Better" Italy, Reprise R 02103

At least "The Electric Prunes" were able to write both sides of a non-LP single issued in early 1968 (and included as bonus tracks on this CD).
"Everybody Knows You're Not in Love" is as commercial as the "Mark Tulin"-"James Lowe" songwriting team got, its California Sunshine Pop interrupted by a brief brittle solo scrape up and down the guitar strings.

It's outshone by the B-side, "You Never Had It Better" a dynamic slab of bluesy Psychedelic-Pop with more characteristic (and quite ferocious) Fuzz and distortion.

"Noise can be musical and beautiful. Once you commit to tape or disc format you've changed the presentation; why not take it as far as you can. Vibrating a bunch of guitar strings is an effect, after all. Layering various textures puts a kind of depth to the record...I dig that" -- "James Lowe", lead singer, "The Electric Prunes"

see also "The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)" (Psychedelic 60s Garage Punk US 1967)<