Oh, I see. Her press badge is on her boob! And he wants to PRESS her BOOB! Oh what wacky linguistic hijinks!
THE GRUMBLEWEEDS, "IN A TEKNIKOLOR DREAM" (UK PHILIPS, 1972)
Not being British, I have no concept of how big the Grumbleweeds were back in the early to late 60’s. From what I’ve read, they were one of England’s most popular TV comedy troupes, which means they were probably good friends with other funny British acts of the 60’s and 70’s like Monty Python, Benny Hill and Emerson Lake & Palmer. But the Grumbleweeds were also musicians, which kinda separated them (at least from ELP), and in 1972 they were given the chance to record a full album of “serious” music. Which doesn’t mean this is some stuffy classical recording, it just means that In a Teknikolor Dream is an album of genuine popsike SONGS as opposed to comedy skits. So it won’t get as many laughs out of you as Matching Tie and Handkerchief, “Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in the West” or Tarkus. But then, how many records DO?
As good as In A Teknikolor Dream is – and it’s REALLY good, by the way, as in “you’d never know this was a comedy troupe” good – it’s still kinda funny that something this immersed in a color wheel of psychedelic Swinging London whimsy should get released as late as 1972, the year of Sweet and T. Rex and Bowie. I mean, this sounds like an unreleased Pretty Things album sandwiched somewhere in between S.F. Sorrow and Parachute, and with that day-glo flower power Happy Mr. Sun cover art, you might find yourself checking the credits again for any involvement by the World of Oz or the Brothers Gibb. If it is a parody of 1968 British psychedelia, it’s pretty good. A little late, perhaps, but hey, if Mel Brooks could release Spaceballs ten years after Star Wars, then give the Grumbleweeds a break already.
I mean, it HAS to be a parody, right? Just check out the title track – that big stompin’ heavy Chocolate Soup rhythm and gruff Arthur Brown vocals sounds like a perfect knockoff of the Pretties’ “Baron Saturday,” doesn’t it? And those falsetto harmonies all over “Fiona McLaughlin” just SCREAM Parachute, even if the beautiful baroque pop music itself sounds more like a Curt Boettcher production or something off Left Banke Too. “Never Before” starts out like a catchy pub singalong off the Kinks’ Something Else with some meatier Creation-esque freakbeat fuzz guitar thrown in, before giving way to a loungey verse that sounds like something Paul McCartney might’ve written during the White Album rehearsals. And the big ballad finale, “Lady,” is one of the best spoofs on Horizontal/Odessa-era Bee Gees I’ve heard in a LONG time. Shoulda wrapped this cover in red velvet flock, huh? Heh heh, okay see, NOW I’m laughing. This is supposed to be funny, right? Like when Benny Hill used to konk that little bald guy on the head all the time. I get it now.
Put it this way – whether or not you treat this as some pre-Dukes of Stratosphear psychedelic London spoof/tribute, or as a real legitimate album of songs put out by a group that also happened to be comedians on the side (like Black Sabbath, for example), the Grumbleweeds’ In A Teknikolor Dream is a big old Hapshash and the Coloured Coat poster of Swinging Sixties day-glo fun. Now if you’re expecting REAL comedy, may I interest you in Pictures at an Exhibition?
LISTEN TO IT RIGHT HERE:
SQUID POP METER SEZ: 6 out of 10
BEST SERVED WITH: Hash Brownies, Whoopie Cushions and those Godawful Kidney Pie Things they Serve in London