As the throbbing buzz of Ken Williams' tremolo-laden fuzztone guitar creeps from one side of the stereo spectrum to the other, the Electric Prunes kick off their debut album with their first (and biggest) hit single, and if Electric Prunes: I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) never hits the high point of its title track again, the next 11 songs confirm that these guys were in the first echelon of American garage bands of the '60s. In the grand tradition of most garage rock albums, the best tracks on this disc are the singles, which along with the title track include "Get Me to the World on Time" and the surprisingly effective B-sides "Luvin'" and "Are You Loving Me More (But Enjoying It Less)," but the other tunes are more than just filler. On nearly every song, Williams and fellow guitarists Weasel Spagnola and Jim Lowe spin a web of gloriously strange sounds, making the most of a battery of stomp boxes, and bassist Mark Tulin and drummer Preston Ritter provide a solid, percolating backdrop for their faux-psychedelic soundscapes.
Producer David Hassinger would in time become a bad guy in the Electric Prunes' story, but on these sessions he gives them a great studio sound, specious but full of details, and at its best this album does as well by its three-guitar team as Moby Grape's epochal debut. And if songs like the weepy soft rock number "Onie," the phony Brit-folk of "The King Is in the Counting House" and the goofball nostalgia of "Toonerville Trolly" suggest Hassinger didn't always know what sort of material to fit with the band (who were only allowed to record two of their own songs), the Prunes rise to the occasion no matter what's thrown at them (and Jim Lowe's vocal suggests he knew just how ridiculous "Toonerville Trolly" would sound). While the Sonics and the Litter made more consistent albums, few if any bands from the '60s garage came up with a sound as distinctive as the Electric Prunes, and they got it on tape with striking success on I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night).
- Featured in
- Straight From The States: Fresh US Imports