benthegrunge, on january 16, 2015 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Quicksilver Messenger Service were a San Francisco, sixties psychedelic band who shared the bill with Hendrix at the infamous 1967 Monterey Festival. Somehow they have not spawned a legacy to match their contemporaries, despite the band having musical virtuosity and creativity combined with surprising pop sensibilities.
The easiest, laziest way to describe the band would be "psychedelic blues rock," but what exactly does that mean? Their dynamic is usually laid back but can include erratic overtones, and is very guitar driven, with pungent, smoky leads on "Song for Frisco" and standout track "The Truth," which has a slightly Latin feel. They have a loose, improvisational manner comparable to Cream and the Experience, with the rolling basslines, freakout guitar stabs and staccato jazz drumming of "Play My Guitar" conjuring Jimi, Mitch and Noel. I detect a country and western influence walking, trotting and cantering through the album too; "Rebel" in particular belongs on a cowboy flick, "Out of My Mind" has the archetypal country focus on storytelling and a heavy, haunting solitude. // 10
Lyrics: The singer has a great classic rock voice which sounds somewhere between Steve Winwood and Ian Gillan and really lifts the record. Early tracks on the album showcase an ear for hits, while the later tracks open out the band's scope and are ultimately much more rewarding. Track 2 "I Found Love," for example, is a typical '60s pop song, a tribute to a lover that could easily make top 40 fodder, "I want to thank you each and every day, thank you baby for showing me the way." "Rebel" uses a defiant, cowboy-type first person narrator. "Fire Brothers" is surreal and disconcerting - "in the valley where the losing lovers play, live two children who were born on Saturday." "The Truth" seems to call out to a friend who needs to clean up their act "every time I point out where you're going down you go and drown it in another tub of whiskey" and also goes deeper "people come and people go and it seems to me we're only make-believing." // 8
Overall Impression: Great jam album, which ends very strongly with "The Truth." "The Truth" should be mandatory listening for anyone interested in acid rock. Gary Duncan and Dino Valenti made a great guitar duo, the quality and variety of guitar timbres on the album is particularly impressive and makes for a band that feel well rounded rather than a one-trick pony. The production is epic but intimate, with very likable vocals and organ filling out the sound. Some of the songwriting is a little too pop and this saturates the record for me. My favourite tracks were probably "The Truth" and "Out of My Mind." // 8