The Chocolate Watch Band – The Inner Mystique (1968, 2012 reissue)

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Originally released on the Tower label in early 1968, The Inner Mystique marked the second album from the Chocolate Watch Band.

Basically an excursion in exploitation, the majority of cuts on the disc were performed by session musicians, with absolutely zero input from any of the group members. As expected, bad blood oozed, but even prior to the making of “The Inner Mystique,” the San Jose, California band had gone through some turmoil, due to personnel changes.

Although The Inner Mystique isn’t as good as the group’s first album, the utterly remarkable No Way Out, and plenty of folks will no doubt hiss and boo the record because it wasn’t conceived by the same band, there are still moments of merit to be had. Carved of weird and wiggy motions, the disc is a fine psychedelic relic.

If you didn’t check the copyright date on the album, instrumentals such as “Voyage Of The Trieste” and “Inner Mystique” (video below) could be thought of as new age lullabies. Whistling flutes, coupled with exotic slopes give these lonely but tranquil ditties an air of surrealism, resulting in the kind of music geared to meditate by. Or take drugs to!

A surly, rebellious edge governs an intense cover of the Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” and then there’s the wobbly “Medication,” which was also put to vinyl by the Standells. Pierced with clanging Chinese cymbals and columns of curling tempos, a treatment of We The People’s “In The Past” is simply stunning, while a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” crackles with brooding, taunting implications, and an acid-dented interpretation of the Brogues’ “I Ain’t No Miracle Worker” is splashed with the spine-tingling tones of a sitar.

Despite the fact the Chocolate Watch Band had little to do with The Inner Mystique, it remains an enchanting collection of sounds. Shaped of spacey doodles and designs, the album actually conveys a variety of feelings, ranging from rage to peaceful to amusing. Strange but highly listenable, The Inner Mystique is a great period piece.

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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 [email protected]
Beverly Paterson
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