Wednesday, August 13, 2008
ONE WARM PUPPY ON A STICK PLEASE...HOLD THE RELISH
A Warm Puppy, Colorful Love/Around A Fountain, 1968 single on the Bullet label
They might be called A Warm Puppy, but this Massachusetts band’s got a nasty bite. And they might’ve been decades ahead of their time too, without even realizing it. No doubt their only single, 1968’s “Colorful Love” b/w “Around a Fountain” was clearly a product of its psychedelic times, but you don’t find too many songs from 1968 where the drums are mixed this loud. It’s almost as if they could see into the big-drum future of the 1980’s. And if so, couldn’t they have stopped Kajagoogoo?
Make no mistake, neither of A Warm Puppy’s two highly trippy singles sounds anything like the MTV playlist circa 1985. But for a generation that emphasized fuzz guitar and farfisa in the mix, it’s odd to hear drums this clear and upfront. Good thing, though, because they gotta be loud to be heard through the wall of psychedelic noise on “Colorful Love,” a monster heavy psych beast that tries to simultaneously blow your mind and split your skull in three quick minutes. This is what you get when you cross Vanilla Fudge with the Pink Floyd without putting a cap on the amount of decibels they can create. A Rick Wright organ swirls and wails continuously, while the lead vocals are drenched in so much echo and sung with such drama and intensity, Jim Morrison begins to sound subtle. And all the while, the drummer flails away furiously, pounding frantically on the skins because he’s thrilled to death to be in the only band in 1968 that’ll mix him up with the rest of the instruments. And they called this band A Warm Puppy? Yeah right, only if its mom were Cerebus.
Things get lighter and airier on the flipside, and “Around a Fountain” actually sounds just like its name – a groovy circular reel around a psychedelic fountain. Here, the song rides a playful, skipping cymbal rhythm, very close to Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow,” while the organ plays an appropriately dizzy melody. Gone are any Meatloaf aspirations this time, as the lead singer sounds mellow, relaxed, possibly even stoned. This is the calm after the storm; the morning after the explosion of the universe. Somebody give this puppy a tranquilizer.
SQUID POP METER SEZ: 7.5 Lava Lamps out of Ten (and a much-needed hit of Ecstasy)