OK, so I've listened to Love Psychedelico's new album, "Golden Grapefruit" about a half a dozen times in the last 30 hours or so and I'm now ready to uleash my opinion on it.
It's a good, solid offering from the 'Delico, however, it's a little underwhelming for the rabid fan, considering the 3 year wait. I do believe the casual fan and the new listerners will dig it more, though. "Golden Grapefruit" is named after their recording studio and I imagine Singer / Rhythm Guitarist Kumi has an obsession with grapefruits in general. It appeared as the subject and title of the last song on their last studio album, "III" and the fruit made an appearance (among other fruits and vegatables) in their "AHA! (All We Want)" PV. They even named one of their tours "The Grapefruit Tour"! The quirkiness of that obsession could also go a ways to explain the quirkiness of the 'Delico in general. I don't quite know how, but I'd bet the farm it does.
They seem to be the truest of anachronisms, Hippies in the best sense of the word, but they don't have any problem embracing synthesizers and modern recoding techniques. That fusion creates a sonic atmosphere that is off center and edgy, but simultaneously irresistible.
Track by Track:
"Golden Grapefruit" kicks off with "Freedom", their last single and the theme song for the NHK Baseball League. It's a classic rock raver with a jittery synth backing overlayed with bright power chord strikes from Lead Guitarist Naoki. The vocals are free and liberating as the title suggests with Kumi exclaiming "Hello!" and "Good Day!" to the listeners. The song does suffer slightly from it's extended length as it could have been trimmed of it's jamminess towards the end. Overall, though, this a high energy, top-down song to kick off the album.
The second track, "AHA! (All We Want)", was last summer's single from the 'Delico. It's a blatant rip of the classic '70's Rolling Stones sound with all of the bombast that comes with it. It's another raver spouting the virtues of Peace and Love and that's just what Love Psychedelico is all about.
Next, we finally get to a new song, "7 Days". No it's not a cover of the Cracker tune from their "Gentlemen's Blues" album nor does it have any connection to the "Ring" films. It is a hard driving rock song that shows the 'Delico rocking harder than they have since the "Together" b side from the"Aha!" Single. It's nice to hear them getting grotty and lo fi once in a while.
Then we have a beautiful "Out Of Time" era REM / Sheryl Crow -esque song entitled "Carnation". Thankfully dropping the synths for a second, the Slide Guitar and Mandolin driven slice of country is a fantastic breath of fresh air. This song is Love Psychedelico at their most potent and beautiful.
At this point, my head is scratching. Their cover of The Beatles' "Help!" is lovely and different, but should it really be on this album? It seems grotesquely out of place on an album of original and different sounding music. More on this later.
OK, os we go to another recent single, "Rain". This one wholesale steals a page out of the Led Zeppelin playbook without actually sounding like them. Make sense? No? You'll have to listen. It's a good song. Very listenable.
Then Naoki gets the spotlight for just under a minute with a instrumental ditty segue way entitled "N29". It's short sweet and I wish it was longer.
"I Saw You In The Rainbow" follows and is absolutely gorgeous. I love when Love Psychedelico tackles Country Music. There's just something about Kumi's voice matching Naoki's bubbling Guitar on a Country tune that just sends me flying. It's a heavy sigh inducing cut. Wistful and sweet with a slight electric edge. My favorite song on the album.
A hook laden shouter reminiscent of their first album's experimentation ("The Greatest Hits" -- The best debut album title ever), "Good Day, Celebration" is just a fun, funky, feel good song. The good vibes just pour from the speakers as modern speak-singing meets old school psychedelia.
Then, we go back to some hard edged 'Delico while sticking to the hearkening back of the first album. In many ways, "Humanimation" feels like their song, "LOW (v.1.1)" from "The Greatest Hits". It feels familiar in that way, but it works. Good stuff.
For some inexplicable reason, Love Psychedelico felt the need to include "Everyone, Everyone" on this album. This song debuted on their best of collection, "Early Times" back in 2005 and on the "Right Now" CD single. That brings me back to the inclusion of "Help!" on this album. I would much rather have had "Right Now" included on this disc along with "Brown Eyed Joe" (from the "Right Now" CD Single) than "Help!" and this song. Sorry guys, I love you more than anything, but overlooking more recent songs for a Beatles cover and a 2 year old song just doesn't cut it. Please don't get me wrong. "Everyone, Everyone" is a great song. It's a concert favorite and I played it to death back then, but it's grossly out of touch with the rest of the album, sound wise. I do realise, however, a casual fan just wouldn't know the difference.
Finally, "Sad Story" closes out the album. It's a pretty ballad but nothing special. It certainly doesn't close out the album like "California" closed out "Psychedelic Orchestra". That left a lingering impression on me.
So, all in all, I like the album. I like it very much, but it's not the equal of any of the previous three studio albums. Of course, I may look back on this album in a few years and say, "Wow. They just don't make them like that anymore".
I really hope I don't have to say that, though.