The Paper Garden “The Paper Garden Presents” (Relics Records, 2012)
You can’t always judge an album by its cover, but in this case you can. Housed in a wildly colorful sleeve populated with cartoon figures surrounded by kaleidoscopic motifs, “The Paper Garden Presents” exposes a vision blooming with paisley powered whimsy. Initially released in 1968 on the Musicor label, the record sadly fell through the cracks, but has since acquired the praise of collectors all over the world and is now considered something of a minor masterpiece.
Buoyed by a prancing shuffle and buzzing fuzz guitars, “Sunshine People” is perhaps the most radio-ready track on the disc, and the head spinning “Gypsy Wine” is spiked with a rousing run of swift and speedy violin work. Glazed with jangling sitars, the sleepy and spacey “Man Do You” slinks and slides with trippy curves, while “I Hide” hops and bops to the tugging tune of peppy rhythms, capped by a burst of seizing guitar licks, and then there’s “A Day,” which whispers and sighs to a ghostly ambience drafted of lush orchestration, phased vocals and quirky sound effects.
Clocking in at under thirty minutes in length, the album still manages to get its message across in such a limited amount of time. Operating out of New York City, the Paper Garden thrived on innovation, as they adorned their material with a variety of different instruments. Although the band’s melodies and arrangements often aimed for the unconventional, their songs are gripping enough to be instantly attractive. High-pitched singing and billowy harmonies post as additional staples cementing the goods. Clearly influenced by the psychedelic hoodoo practiced by the Beatles, trickles of the Idle Race and the Bee Gees, and even the jolly jugband stylings of the Lovin’ Spoonful, further arise on “The Paper Garden Presents,” resulting in a record that’s both playful and progressive.
Review made by Beverly Paterson / 2013
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