Monday, January 21, 2008

Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense and Peppermints (1967)

Strawberry Alarm Clock is one of the most underrated American bands from the psychedelic era, largely due to the hippie image created by their self-consciously trippy name and hit song, "Incense and Peppermints." Granted that many of the songs from Incense and Peppermints contain stereotypical hippie lyrics, the arrangements, instrumentation, and vocals are so impressive that it's endearing rather than annoying. Incense and Peppermints has a wide array of instrumentation including excellent psychedelic lead guitar, harpsichord, flute, keyboards, organs, and other exotic instruments. The vocal harmonies also add to the rich sound of the album. They began as a group called Sixpence from Glendale, California in the mid-60s and would endure numerous line-up changes throughout this time and during the recording of Incense and Peppermints as well. Around the time that they released their first single, "The Birdman of Alkatrash" with "Incense and Peppermints" as the B-Side, they changed their name to Strawberry Alarm Clock. "The Birdman of Alkatrash" failed as a single while "Incense and Peppermints" took off on the radio and became a #1 hit in November of '67. Although Strawberry Alarm Clock enjoyed some success with the release of Incense and Peppermints, from that point on they would be plagued by negligent management and pressure to compromise their sound.

"Incense and Peppermints" from the film Psych-Out with Jack Nicholson pretending to play guitar

"Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow" from Psych-Out

Download Incense and Peppermints


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