Marshmallow Overcoat – The Complete Sound (2011)

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Congratulations, Marshmallow Overcoat! The Tucson, Arizona band recently celebrated their 25th anniversary and to commemorate the special event, they’ve put together a whopping six-disc box set. Beautifully packaged, the collection as the title states, does indeed contain Marshmallow Overcoat’s entire output to date. Sequenced in chronological order, The Complete Sound (Garage Nation) includes several full-length albums, an EP and a bevy of bonus tracks. And if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, videos, photos and liner notes seal the deal.

Hardcore disciples of psychedelic garage rock, Marshmallow Overcoat has always played the music in a thoroughly honest and authentic manner. As a matter of fact, they’re so genuine you would think they really were a sixties band! To begin with, lead singer Timothy Gassen’s intense vocals recall a cool cross between Jim Morrison and Sean Bonniwell. Add flocks of fiery fuzz guitars, the wheezing, whirling din of a hyperventilating organ, stabbing hooks and shaking tambourines to the gig, and that squarely sums up the mood, method and madness of the band.

Due to the massive amount of songs on The Complete Sound, it’s impossible to provide a detailed report on each one, but I will say there’s an embarrassment of riches here. No filler and all killer!

Marshmallow Overcoat’s original material, authored by Timothy Gassen himself, is just as electrifying as the nuggets the band pledges undying allegiance to. Fueled by boundless energy smacking of determination, cuts like “Bitter Heart,” “She’s So Satisfyin,’” “A Touch of Evil,” “When It’s Dark,” “(We’re The) Knights of Fuzz” and “Won’t Go Away” nail the gutsy garage beat with pulsating precision. Then there’s the absolutely spellbinding “Suddenly Sunday,” which shimmers and glimmers to a shower of jingly jangly guitars and rows of revolving melodies reminiscent of the Byrds.

Creeping, crawling and slinking with mystery and magic, “Something About the Sun” and “Tomorrow Today” brood to the intoxicating tenor of a droning psychedelic mentality, while “Santa Fuzz,” “Beverly Pepper” and “(Can’t Stop) Thee Hands of Tyme” kick in as other choice highlights presented on The Complete Sound. A sense of urgency, coupled with a raw and primal hunger, topped by an eerie essence, charge the band’s music with excitement and feeling.

Covers of the Balloon Farm’s “A Question of Temperature,” the Shadows of Knight’s “Light Bulb Blues,” Love’s “Stephanie Knows Who,” Tommy Jett’s “Groovy Little Trip” and the Heard’s “Stop It Baby” are rehashed with utter reverence and respect. An amazing version of “Tomorrow Never Knows” that would cause the Beatles to beam with pride — and perhaps even turn green with envy — should not be missed either.

The show closes with a trio of brand new songs that tell us Marshmallow Overcoat still has plenty of petrol left in the tank. “Half a Life” and “Your Love” confirm the band’s ongoing commitment to the music they perform with unsurpassed wisdom and clarity, where “The Beyond,” which floats dreamily along to the spooky hum of a mellotron, mesmerizing rhythms and ghostly atmospherics, is a true blue acid-drenched masterstroke.

Pressed in a limited edition of a hundred copies, The Complete Sound will be available thereafter as a digital download. So don’t hesitate and be sure to purchase this baby right now!

Good for Marshmallow Overcoat for carrying the torch of traditional psychedelic garage rock, with significant nods to folks such as the Music Machine, Zakary Thaks, the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Human Expression, the Seeds, the Electric Prunes, Count Five, the Lemon Drops and the Haunted. The band has certainly staged a lasting impact, as kaboodles of contemporary garage bands cite them as a chief influence. Not many bands can claim to be active for 25 years, let alone releasing a steady stream of high-quality tuneage.

May Marshmallow Overcoat and their three-chords-and-clouds-of-dust sound forever reign supreme!

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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