Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hippies, Herpes, Same Goddamn Thing

For a time I suspected Strawberry Alarm Clock of being a "band" assembled by the FBI, or CIA, or one of them rascally alphabet soups for the sole purpose of infiltrating and eventually destroying the menacing hippie subculture of the 1960s.  Strawberry Alarm Clock were not undercover agents, of course, but can you really blame me for wondering?  The distressingly nonsensical band name is right out of the "get high, pick out an item in this room, put another random word in front of it, and that's what we'll call ourselves" chapter of the handbook.  Then there's their most (only) famous song, "Incense and Peppermints."  Every aspect of this tune screams the decade in which it was written and recorded.  The hyper-self-aware mystical dope lyrics ("Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around/Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah yeah") mesh near-perfectly with the musical menagerie (harpsichords and vibraphones and cowbells) to create a song that was destined to become a sonic marker of its time and nothing more.

It's almost a little too trippy.

Mind you, I think it's a good enough track.  It's not as amazing as "Journey to the Center of the Mind" by Amboy Dukes*, but it's a fair pace ahead of "Love the One You're With" by Stephen Stills**.  You can track down the album of the same name, but I found it it to be undistinguished and serviceable.  Not unlike strawberries sans sugar.

*AKA, the best thing Ted Nugent has ever been associated with.
**AKA, the worst thing Billy Preston has ever been associated with.