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1 Mar 2017

Earth Island "We Must Survive" 1970 US Psych Pop sunshine

Earth Island  "We Must Survive" 1970 US Psych Pop sunshine
We Must Survive is a sunshine psych gem that I had no prior knowledge about. The disc seems to date a little past the expiry date of the genre, but the sounds are definitely the real deal and recall the better moments of Curt Boettcher's and/or Gary Usher's love fest freak outs. There's a slight nod to prog here with some of the meatier instrumental parts, and I can't help but note the strong environmental awareness aspect that crops up here the very same year as the first Earth Day (I think). In fact, there seems to be a bit of a concept concerning that topic which ties the whole disc together.

As any good album should do, the opening tracks are winners. "Earth People's Park" takes a little of Brian Wilson's pocket symphony idea to heart with it's multiple sections, as does the somewhat harder rocking "Ride the Universe." Forsaking straight up lead vocals, most of the songs rely on a weave of harmonies that compare favorably with just about anyone else. The first bump in the road is probably with "This Island Earth," where the band unfortunately takes on the opportunity to sing the title in a ludicrously rising chorus. It might just be that images of the wonderfully cheesy movie of the same name are filtering through my head. Things get back on track with the ever-so-slightly morose "Doomsday Afternoon" (I'd expect something a little more hardcore with that title). Highlights later on the disc include the entertaining hippie nightmare, "Mother Earth Is a Beautiful Lover," which spins through both waltz time and a chilled version of a garage rock rave-up. A few of the references to Tin Pan Alley among the tracks don't really do it for me, but it comes across better to me than Harper's Bizarre doing similar affectations.

Finding really listenable sunshine pop can be a sometimes harrowing affair as you wade through endless oceans of saccharine sugar wads. Earth Island manages that tinge of melancholy that really takes the music to a higher level. It's not the absolute best in the genre, but I'd wager that it has more to offer than your average Spanky and Our Gang or Orpheus recording.............

Originally issued in June 1970, at a time when rock music was beginning to embrace ecological themes, this Canadian quartet's sole album was produced by Kim Fowley, and features material co-written with Byrds bassist Skip Battin. Touching on rock, psychedelia and sunshine pop, it boasts fine vocal harmonies throughout, and makes its long-overdue CD debut here..................

There is some good stuff here, particularly the slower, more subdued numbers. But for some reason, they decided to put in two songs that completely wreck the flow of the album. "Peace and Understanding, Toronto 1970" is a foray into 50s style rock 'n' roll and to be honest, I couldn't even finish it. The other clunker is the country pastiche, "The Hungry Planet". Without those two tracks, you would have had a much stronger record on your hands. With them, this album can only be called a decent one. Still, if you're willing to dig a bit into this short album, you may just find a gem or .......

Very good Psych-lite with tinges of Pop and prog. Is music on the same wavelength as The Millennium; light "airy" sort of super-produced pop with (often) positive messages. For a few tracks I could've sworn the lead singer was Curt Boettcher (like on "Seasons of Our Lives"). Even some of the other vocalizations are similar (which is a good thing): --Ooh!-- and --Ahh!-- backing vocals on several tracks along with multiple singers, instrumentation varied from song to song, etc.

The album is solid throughout, with no real "clunkers" to be found. Fillers, (see below), yes perhaps... but even the fillers aren't horrible. On repeated listens I've grown to appreciate it more and more.

Highlights: "Earth People's Park" "This Island Earth" and "Ride the Universe" stand out to me.

I didn't really care for "Peace and Understanding, Toronto 1970" as it just felt like tossed-together filler material compared to the rest of the record. Same with "The Hungry Planet"; they tried to spice it up with backing vocals but it's still a simple blues-themed jam in the end. Actually the second side is the weakest part of the record, with the first few tracks being very solid.

If you can get your hands on it and enjoy Psych-lite/Millennium-style 60's Pop, I recommend checking out the first few songs at least.....Faltain.........

Bruce Doshier – Lead Guitar, Flute, Vocals
Bill Liska – Guitar, Vocals
Richard Vanderwoerdt – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Skip Battin – Bass
Nicholas Rush – Drums, Vocals

A1 Earth People's Park 3:22
A2 Civilization, I Can't Hear A Word 2:15
A3 Ride The Universe 3:52
A4 Seasons Of Our Lives 2:45
A5 This Island Earth 2:30
A6 Doomsday Afternoon 2:03
B1 Ashes, Ashes All Fall Down 3:06
B2 Greatest Adventure Of Our Lives 3:15
B3 Peace And Understanding, Toronto 1970 2:39
B4 Mother Earth Is A Beautiful Lover 3:47
B5 The Hungry Planet 1:48
B6 Save Our World We Must Survive 1:37

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





Cassete Deck

Cassete Deck