The Ventures – Super Psychedelics (1967; 2012 reissue)

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By the time the Ventures released this album, which originally appeared on the Dolton label in September 1967, they were not the hit making machine they were earlier in the decade.

Pioneers of instrumental guitar rock, the Tacoma, Washington-band was quickly considered dated once the British Invasion stormed these shores in 1964. Not only did the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Zombies, the Dave Clark Five, the Animals, the Kinks and the Searchers flaunt a hip new sound shaped of vocals, harmonies and bigger, louder guitars, but dressed in mod wear and sporting soup-bowl haircuts, they looked cool as well.

Undaunted, the Ventures plowed on, recording album after album of instrumentals. Although the genre may have been viewed archaic, the band was as great as ever. The Ventures also kept right on top of what was happening at the moment, as their instrumentals were steeped in the popular styles of the day.

As the title of Super Psychedelics (Sundazed Records) announces, trippy is the theme. The disc opens up with a moody take of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and while covers of “Western Union” (the Five Americans), “Happy Together” (the Turtles) and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” (the Monkees) aren’t exactly far out and freaky, they still glide and groove with zest.

The best tracks on Super Psychedelics are actually those the Ventures composed themselves. “Vibrations,” “Psychedelic Venture,” “1999 A.D.” and “Psyched-Out” twitch, turn and tumble with inventive patterns and gripping hooks. Blending old school surf rock rhythms with warped waves of echo and reverb supplies these instrumentals the flower power feel the band is in pursuit of.

Playful and peppy, Super Psychedelics flows nicely with precise performances and just enough odd and interesting movements to give the record a lysergic luster. The Ventures were a hot band, and here’s one of many albums documenting their imitable ability for laying down tightly-constructed instrumentals splashed with energy and excitement.

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Super PsychedelicsVery Best of the Ventures4 Original AlbumsHawaii Five-O

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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