The Paisleys “Cosmic Mind At Play” (Peace Records 1970)
During the counterculture years, concept albums were in vogue. Any band that had the gumption to create such progressive noise was usually thought to possess supernatural faculties. That said, the Paisleys command a pile of handclaps for laying down their own brain-bending voyage of adventurous twists and turns. “Cosmic Mind At Play” was to be the Minnesota band’s one and only album, which is a real pity because they seemed to have a lot going for them. Not a big-budget production, the disc bestows a definitive homegrown finish that sporadically splatters trickles of scruffy garage rock residue onto the psychedelic canvas.
Archetypal hippy dippy psychobabble also blankets the album, as topics like spirituality, liberation and freedom are addressed. But a lighthearted persona still persists, making it evident the Paisleys didn’t take themselves too seriously. For example, the jolting pulsations of “Now” features the sound of somebody sucking on a joint, while “Musical Journey” entails snippets of a car advertisement and the voice of a sports commentator announcing the score of a baseball game. Although a trippy tie-dye vibe dictates “Cosmic Mind At Play,” a variety of moods actually enter the picture, running the gamut from edgy power pop stylings to the classical ambience of “Wind.” Contrary to the greater percentage of their peers carousing similar terrain, the Paisleys didn’t saturate their songs with overblown jamming.
Relying on basic instrumentation to get their point across, the band was clearly influenced by the punchy rhythms and melodic sensibilities of the Beatles and the Who. Stunning harmonies, combined with catchy guitar riffs and inspired keyboard workouts further charge the album to heavenly heights. However, enough originality seeps through the grooves of “Cosmic Mind At Play,” allowing it to stand its own ground among numerous other concept confections of the era.
Review made by Beverly Paterson/2013
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