Clear Light

LM 21001CD LM 21001CD

What might have been just one album out of so many great ones from 1967 -- there are a hell of a lot struggling for one's attention -- makes its first impression with a promising cover image, featuring some fashionable youngsters in a patch of palm tree forest and a fluid, light blue band logo above them. The band is from Los Angeles, it turns out -- a promising sign considering the vibrant Californian scene of the time. Then, upon first listen, the first fuzzed-out rocker sends the listener's soul into a state of simmering excitement; the further one explores this piece of morning maniac music the more the colorful aspects of the band's creativity enchant. Dark -- or at least gruff -- rock tunes with heavy fuzz guitar alternate with melodic tunes that feature lush, clean guitar harmonies one might expect from fellow LA natives The Byrds -- it's no wonder that Clear Light were heavily influenced by their compatriots. They try out different twists and turns on psychedelic pop and rock, early heavy stuff, and garage sounds. Their melody writing is just captivating. The most outstanding track on this, their sole album, may be "Mr. Blue," for its remote structures far from the typical pop tune. It starts with a sluggish roll on the floor-tom that reminds one of a scene of a convict slowly walking up to the gallows while the judge reads the sentence; and indeed, there is a voice that speaks to "Mr. Blue" and tells him about his fate. In between, the track turns into a classic heavy garage rocker with a catchy chorus line, and with each verse, spooky guitar howls join the speaking voice. The grand finale of "Mr. Blue" is an instrumental explosion of pure garage psychedelia. More colorful pop with changing rhythms and memorable melodies follows. Contemporary rock acts that were playing in a similar league include The Seeds, The Byrds, Count Five, The Shadows of Knight, and Blues Magoos. They had everything a band needed to become a major act on the scene back then, so why not drag this classic back to the light and inspire younger generations with Clear Light's brand of stormy harmonies and forceful fuzz guitars on body-shaking rhythm patterns. An all-killer release.