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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Marshmallow Way - s/t

Name: Marshmallow Way
Album: s/t
Year: 1969
Style: Bubblegum Pop
Similar Bands: Lemon Pipers, 1910 Fruitgum Co, Jellyfish, Bubble Puppy, Beach Boys, Monkees
"One-Word" Review: Sickning-Sweet-Candied-Pop
Based Out Of: New Jersey
Label: United Artists
Marshmallow Way - Cover & Record
Marshmallow Way - Back & Record

Marshmallow Way (1969)
  1. C'Mon Kitty, Kitty (Let's Go To The City) 2:35
  2. Keep My Fingers Crossed 2:27
  3. (Like the Love Of) Romeo & Juliet 2:45
  4. Michigan Mints 2:40
  5. Give & Take 2:33
  6. Sugar & Spices 2:03 /
  7. Sweet Thing 2:14
  8. Wild One (Show Me The Way to Your heart) 3:04
  9. She's A Dandy 2:27
  10. Good Day 2:54
  11. I Wish I Was 2:56
  12. Music, Music 2:37
Album Rating (1-10): 10.0

Members & Other Bands:
Billy Carl - Producer, Composer, Arranger (1910 Fruitgum Co)
Mike Consi - Engineer
Reid Whitelaw - Producer, Composer, Arranger (1910 Fruitgum Co)
Harry Yarmark - Engineer
Jim Calvert - Conductor
Norman Marzanno - Musical Coordinator
Paul Naumann - Musical Coordinator
Ken Laguna - Musical Coordinator
(little) Joe D'Andrea - Musical Coordinator

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of them, but I have a feeling I’m going to love this record. The psychedelic and candy mixture of the band being stuck in a gumball machine, and then floating away on a marshmallow over top a plate of candy corn and marshmallows is enough of a give-away. This will be bubblegum pop, pure and simple. Reminds me of the look that many of the psychedelic bands on the Elephant Six record label tried to mimic. And from the date of 1969, plus their outfits, the music is something that I’m looking forward to and that I specifically hunt for in dollar bins. Exciting!

Album Review: “C'Mon Kitty, Kitty (Let’s Go To The City)” is immediately toe tapping and insanely catchy. Ok, so I’m going to try to not use the term insanely catchy again, but that is an apt description. It continues to drive as the bass and piano bounce along with harmonized humming and bopping backing vocals. Unfortunately my version skips.
“Keep My Fingers Crossed” rolls and floats right by with a Motown back beat and melody. The falsetto chorus of backing vocals singing the title stands out, and is a great hook that brings the song together. The song unfortunately ends in a fade out, rather than some creative ending, but I’ll still take it!
“(Like the Love Of) Romeo & Juliet” is again basically Motown filter through bubble gum pop. It is a touch slower, like a loving ballad verse that builds to a roller coaster melody of the chorus, which again, is just the title. Lots of harmonized Oooo’s support the lead vocals.
“Michigan Mints” is very side-to-side bouncy, and has the most complex melodies grouped together of any other song on the album. This band yearns to have a Motown name like So-and-So and the So-and-Sos.
“Give & Take” right off sounds like the Beach Boys with the harmony. And that’s what this entire song mimics.
“Sugar & Spices” starts with a steady, driving drum beat, and a great vocal hook of Na-Na-Nas that leads up to the title. There a lot of candy and sweets name dropped in the song, and the song feels very much like a 1910 Fruitgum Co song.

“Sweet Thing” is more of Motown bubblegum, and there are so many catchy sections all layered upon each other, it’s hard to keep up with the changes. Its just really good.
“Wild One (Show Me The Way to Your Heart)” is a call and response song that has a consistent drum and bass beat. Most of these songs do fade out, which seems like a bit of a cop-out, but they are still very good songs.
“She's A Dandy” brings back the center stage Motown singer with a backing guy group of Ooo’s and echoing the lead’s singing of “Dandy.”
“Good Day” reminds me of a chilled, hippy Davy Jones song. Or perhaps it sounds like Junior Senior’s “Shake Me, Baby” with all the hard edges sanded down.
“I Wish I Was” has an older feel to it when the chorus flattens out and the backing harmonized vocals accompany the lead. It makes the song feel like a Bachelors song, or any other of the 50’s vocal groups.
“Music, Music” is making me run out of ways to describe these songs, because they are all so good, yet so similar, there are only so many times I can call it Bubble Gum Motown. But this song is just as catchy. The bass beat is continuously bouncing, and reminds me of Of Montreal for some reason. This song is very literal, singing about pretty music. And it too fades out like the rest of the album, leaving the listener wanting more, or at least some kind of closure.
Any one of these songs could really be the stand out track, so I’ll just pick one.

Stand Out Track: Michigan Mints

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