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Saturday, December 19, 2009


JUSTINE (1970)
256 KBPS

Though this obscure 1970 LP falls into the general folk-psych-rock category, its focus is so all-over-the-place that it's hard to get a read on it. The group are British, but at times the record seems very influenced by the poppiest side of American folk-rock, particularly in the blends of male and female vocal harmonies, which are extremely reminiscent of the Mamas & the Papas' approach in places. Yet there are also songs that have a more specifically British, gentle reserved acoustic quality; a character portrait of "Mr. Jones" with a whimsical British feel; and occasional off-the-wall burning fuzzy psychedelic guitar. At its most mature, it's slightly similar to, if an obscure reference point is allowed, the folk-prog-rock recordings that Giles, Giles & Fripp made as they were morphing into King Crimson (though not nearly as inspired). At its sappiest and most cooing, it could almost pass for a Californian sunshine pop recording. What the songs lack, however, are memorable choruses, or much cohesion between the parts, although the individual parts (especially the female vocalists' contributions) are often pretty. File under the section with the many stylistically confused rock bands of the period who had some talent and tried hard to say something important, but didn't quite have the goods.

1. Flying/Love You More Than Is Good for Me To/Nostrils
2. She Brings the Morning with Her
3. Back to Boulder
4. Traveller
5. See Saw
6. Mini Splurge/Mr. Jones/Is That Good. That's Nice
7. Clocks/Hey I Used to Know You
8. Unknown Journey
9. Leave Me Be
10. Clown


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