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Thursday, April 7, 2011

(the) Illusion - s/t

Name: (the) Illusion
Album: s/t
Year: 1969
Style: Psychedelic Soul/Garage
Similar Bands: MC5, Mooney Suzuki, Hives
"One Word" Review: soulful-homemade-drugs
Based Out Of: Long Island, NY
Label: Steed, Jeff Barry Enterprises, DOT Records, Paramount Pictures
The Illusion - Cover & Record
The Illusion - Back & Record

The Illusion (1969)
  1. Did You See Her Eyes 6:55
  2. Talkin' Sweet Talkin' Soul 2:42
  3. Just Imagine 3:30
  4. Medley: Run, Run, Run / Willy Gee 5:55 /
  5. I Love You, Yes I Do 2:20
  6. Alone 3:00
  7. Charleena 2:17
  8. Medley: Why, Tell Me Why / The Real Thing 6:24
  9. You Made Me What I Am 3:28
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Chuck Alder - Bass (The Uncalled Four, The Arrivals, The Del Sonics, The Creations, The Deep, Jerry Ross Orchestra, Vince Martell )
Rich Cerniglia - Guitars (Network, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Aviator, Ellen Shapely, Vince Martell, Wiggy Bits)
Mike Maniscalco - Guitars, Keys, Organ (Wiggy Bits)
Michael (Sylvester) Ricciardella - Drums (Network, Baraby Bye, Aviator, Wiggy Bits, Alice Cooper)
John Vinci - Vox (Network, Vince Martell)
Jeff Barry - Producer
Fred Weinberg - Engineer
Joel Brodsky - Cover Photo
Christopher Whorf - Art Direction

I’ve never heard of this band. I love the look of the album. It feels like I’m holding an artifact from a superb era of music. The photo reminds me of the Box Tops, whom I love. And I really enjoy the simplicity and color scheme of the logo. I don’t know if it’s going to be dripping in psychedelia, but I’m holding this record up to high regards and expectance.

Album Review: “Did You See Her Eyes” starts with the band counting down and marking the recording with the title. The song is very bluesy and possesses raw energy from many garage bands. The harmonies and some of the guitar work also give it the psychedelic edge. The lengthy instrumental section feels odd to have so early in the song, and so early on the album. Usually bands wait for deeper in the album to put unconventionally long instrument solos. And this features solos from every member it seems. The song then comes back in for a great rhythm section like some of their counterparts of the day performed, Vanilla Fudge. The song breaks down to sound as if it were a practice session, and feels nothing like the beginning of the song. The pounding bass and drum line throw the listener into the necessary psych trance. Then the vocals take over and the song returns for the last 50 seconds of the song.
“Talkin' Sweet Talkin' Soul” starts right off with a damn catchy ba-da-bap harmony hook. This song is a classic rock toe tapper. Every time it comes back to the harmonized chorus it fills the ears with such a happy hook. And it is that hook which we hear last as the song fades out.
“Just Imagine” begins with a psychedelic folky guitar and light echoy balladeer singing. It becomes a sing along with the rest of the band in harmony, but it always remains the light ballad.
“Medley: Run, Run, Run / Willy Gee” has an aggressive vocal and a driving tempo thanks to the drums and accenting guitars. This song too relies on another extended instrumental section. The song has basic generic lyrics and it feels like a party song without literal meaning, but one that creates a definitive atmosphere with a spacey harmonic chorus of Run, Run, Run. The guitar plays the last section and the bass picks up leading us into the second half of the medley; an early Beatles and Kinks like garage revival.

“I Love You, Yes I Do” carries over the same characteristics from the Willy Gee portion of the last song: Garage Soul. The vocals are angsty, like a lot of the good late 70’s jittery new wave rock. The chorus is a constant breakdown and restart. After every section, it feels like the song could end on the final discordant note.
“Alone” almost feels like it is a Motown single, it has all the bouncing bass and drum beat, but thanks to the guitars, and echoing harmonies, it is far grittier.
“Charleena” is a “wacka-wacka” guitar based poppy love song. It is the basic recipe of 50’s pop songs with a description of the sought after girl set to happy bouncy music.
“Medley: Why, Tell Me Why / The Real Thing” starts as a dark, stirring, “music-to-smoke-drugs- to” number. It lingers on with its only purpose to create an atmosphere to space out in. Then at 2:50, the tempo changes, and the psychedelics kick in for a jumping dance party. The guitars kinda make the song sound like a Pepsi commercial. It is a very catchy vocal melody and the song travels all over the place while maintaining its cohesion. And the song makes me feel like it is going to transition into the Cowsill’s “Hair”
“You Made Me What I Am” is a dark, but bouncy pop song that reminds me of the Robbers On High Street. The song breaks form to slum it in the experimental department. Suddenly, the song takes off and colors morph into each other for a rushed, bombastic psychedelic freak out. The drums fade out, only to fade back in to one last electric wah-wah guitar section before it fades out completely, yet too quickly.


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