The Smoke - Sidewalk 1967
Tracks: 1. Cowboys And Indians / 2. Looking Thru The Mirror / 3. Self-Analysis / 4. Gold Is The Colour Of Thought / 5. Hobbit Symphony / 6. The Daisy - Intermission / 7. Fogbound / 8. Song Thru' Perception / 9. Philosophy / 10. Umbrella / 11. Ritual Gypsy Music Opus 1 / 12. October Country / 13. Odyssey
"The Smoke" was a studio project by Michael Lloyd of The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band recorded during a period of 1967 when he was out of this group. The Smoke was not a real group and Lloyd plays most of the instruments himself. However, he gets competent support from drummer Steve Baim and guitarist Stan Ayeroff, who also contributes as a songwriter to a few songs. Generally speaking, it's a good mixture of baroque / psychedelia pop, related to groups like The Left Banke, The Zombies, and others of that era.
The songs are generally very good and although their structure is quite experimental, they are also very melodic and catchy at the same time; a 2-3 tracks actually sound like they could have hit potential. Not least, "Fogbound" which goes straight into your head. The same might be said of "Cowboys and Indians" and "Gold is the Color of Thought" - the latter with a great chorus and a surprising and exciting ending.
The vocals are generally nice and soft and maybe a bit impersonal; but absolutely good. and if you know the WCPAEB will probably recognize Lloyd's vocals from some of this group's songs.
I won’t hesitate to call this, the only, Smoke album a minor masterpiece within its time and genre; no songs fall through, which for the WCPAEBs was often the case. Absolutely af must have for fans of that group.
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