Monday, April 28, 2008

Love

Forever Changes Collector’s Edition (Rhino)

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In 1967, rock bands on both sides of the Atlantic were struck with the full potential of the record album as a broad aural canvas. In that year the multiracial Los Angeles group Love recorded Forever Changes, which despite its obscurity at the time has been deemed a milestone in art rock by some critics.

The album’s latest repackaging includes the original Forever Changes plus an unreleased alternate mix of uncertain provenance. Occupying most of the package’s second disc, the previously unheard version is at least as good as, and perhaps more dynamic than, the original, while the handful of other bonus tracks (Love goofing around with “Wooly Bully” between takes) adds little.

The core music is what’s important. The Collector’s Edition is an opportunity to assess Forever Changes as a strangely bewitching song cycle flowing through orchestral pop ballads, swatches of hard rock, mellow psychedelia, Baroque echoes, samba rhythms and Latin horns. The overall effect is of sunshine casting deep shadows through a sonic garden of many delights. Although Forever Changes isn’t as profound as its authors had hoped, it succeeds in many of their ambitions. The Love album won’t make most of us forget Sgt. Pepper or Pet Sounds, but it remains an engaging artifact of the original psychedelic era.

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