The Second

GM 209CD GM 209CD

South Korean garage/psych rockers San Ul Lim's second album, originally released in 1978, is more related to American music from the second half of the '60s than anything else. In a year in which disco, punk, and early heavy metal ruled, this flowery and trippy pop sound with fuzzed-out guitars on flashing rhythms might have been outdated already despite the fact that the original US garage sound had a renaissance among collectors not long before the album's release, and compilations like Pebbles were in high demand among new fans of this genre. One may doubt that these hunters for vinyl treasures even made the slightest effort to take a look toward Eastern Asia, where San Ul Lim came up with exactly that type of music. They had a sense for pop melodies and, beyond that, for soulful ballads with heartwarming melodies. Nice and sleazy organ sounds (Farfisa, not Hammond) add more color to the simply structured, yet effectively striking tracks, and when the fuzz sets in even slower tunes start to turn into simmering maelstroms of utterly checkered harmonies. This is for sure not the only direction San Ul Lim take on their second album. Some folky singer-songwriter elements slip into their song selection and definitely remind the listener of a warm summer weekend in August 1969 when 500,000 gathered for the most important music event ever at Yasgur's farm. San Ul Lim consisted of skilled musicians who executed their compositions with an obsessive feel and an iron discipline. The band had matured ever since the release of their debut album the previous year and this is apparent in the more excessive and obsessive playing, the increased rawness of the guitar fuzz, and the slightly deeper, more thought-provoking and sometimes even more aggressive melodies that diverge from pure feel good-pop music. What you get here is a delightful mixture of what was awesome in the west in 1966 and '67, and despite being a bit late, San Ul Lim still had the fire of passion in a way The Seeds, The Doors, Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Animals, The Shadows of Knight, and even Nick Drake, Roy Harper, and Bert Jansch, did. Retro garage sound with style and soul -- who could resist that?