Thursday, February 05, 2015

Eden's Children-Sure Looks Real (1968)

Eden's Children:

    Richard "Sham" Schamach - Guitars, Vocals
    Larry Keily Jr. - Bass, Vocals
    Jim Sturman - Drums, Percussion

(on russian)
Bob Thiele is back producing, this time with Jonathan Whitcup helping out, and the genius photography of Elliot Landy, Bob Dylan's cameraman. It is amazing how much more style the band has with Landy's photos -- stunning on the inside gatefold, buried inside an apple by photographer Norman Trigg on the front cover. The band had no image on their first ABC disc, and the rotten apple being eaten by a fly on the back of the LP pretty much sinks it for the band visually. "Sure Looks Real" and "Awakening," the first and fifth tracks, actually are listenable. "Sure Looks Real" borrows heavily from the Byrds' "Eight Miles High" with vocals taken from the Who's "I Can See for Miles." Richard Schamach's vocals are as subdued as the Don Heckman liner notes on this second chapter, but they fall apart, as does the band, on "Toasted," "Spirit Call," and "Come When I Call." It feels like there was no budget here and some of the songs get a better shake than others. Shamach writes nine tracks, bassist Larry Kiley pens two, but it doesn't matter. "The Clock's Imagination" is no Strawberry Alarm Clock, the vocals, drums, and barely audible folk guitar are augmented by poor backing vocals. Not only does this sound rushed, some of the material wouldn't be worthy of inclusion on a soundtrack to filmmaker Ed Wood's shoddy work. Even bands from the day like Fat and Quill had some merit and spark which Eden's Children failed to find and embrace. There is no identity in the framework of "Things Go Wrong" and terrible fuzz guitar in the Larry Kiely composition "Wings," which takes "I Don't Need No Doctor" and decimates that famous riff, though it is hard to imagine this crew actually listening to blues artists. "Call It Design" has even less imagination. There are moments on Sure Looks Real which indicate better production, and a level of seriousness absent from this mess would have generated a better product. "Invitation" could work in the hands of a Quicksilver Messenger Service because they had direction and desire. "Echoes" has the vibe of a demo done in some basement. Richard Schamach's voice destroys a pretty melody and creative guitar playing. A notch above the first album, but the notion that they could have done worse than their self-titled debut is a frightening thought. The music on this record and its predecessor would haunt Boston rock & roll for many years to come, despite the efforts of Aerosmith, Boston, the Cars, the Jonzun Crew, New Edition, Tracy Chapman, and other artists who found fame during the time they played in Boston, MA.

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