Saturday, March 24, 2012


Here is a nice review from The Music Banter Forum..........

In February 1967 Jefferson Airplane's previous album 'Surrealistic Pillow' yielded the phenomenal hits 'Somebody To Love' and thru-the-looking-glass staple 'White Rabbit'...

So when RCA heard the follow-up they must have swallowed their cigars.
Within the year the group had recorded and released 'After Bathing At Baxter's' - an altogether heavier and more experimental proposition. We're not exactly talking John Cage here, but when the harmonies of Grace Slick and Marty Balin (a sound that defines the era for many) are committed to an LP of suites written entirely about the LSD experience you sit up and listen to the results...

Track one fades in with feedback, or the sound of an oncoming brain train... Jorma Kaukonen's lead guitar is pushed right to the front of the mix creating an instant impact; behind which intricate vocal harmonies are soon woven. Make no mistake, Jefferson Airplane may have actually made the album on acid but this ain't no fratboy binge - the creative floodgates have been opened.

No doubt Sgt.Pepper's release earlier that year was a chin-scratcher for the San Francisco stoners. The short instrumental on track two, 'A Small Package Of Value Will Come To You, Shortly', makes it clear we are no longer in chart-courting 'Somebody To Love' territory. It's a disorientating cacophony of jazz drumming, xylophone and nonsensical rambling; a precursor to the 9-minute bad-tripper 'Spare Chaynge'.

Studio experimentation aside, the freak-outs and spine-tingling melodies are abundant; from the galloping 'Watch Her Ride' to the whimsical 'Martha'. Most of the songs are immediate and J.A. have retained their accessibility and 'outdoor festival jam' vibe, whilst offering us a harder, more layered sound. Clearly being possibly the biggest psychedelic band of all time didn't hurt the musicianship either and everybody's playing is on point, no using standard psychedelic sound effects as a crutch.

'After Bathing...' doesn't suffer comparison to 'Surrealistic Pillow'. If you want a more popular/folky slant on free love you'll feel like the latter; the album in question though just rocks alot more whilst keeping those familiar elements that make it archetypal of the West Coast sound and a real psychedelic gem.


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