The Sundowners – Captain Nemo

Being yet another perfect fit for the common “shoulda-beens” tag, when it comes to mid-to-end sixties artists/albums, The Sundowners’ Monkees-support tour, along with different kinds of significant TV/film appearances, should’ve been used just as an extra push to bring their “Beatlesque melodies, West Coast cool, frantic showmanship, psychedelic production flourishes and mile-wide cheeky grin” to a wider public attention, but as faith had it, and considering the fact that you’re actually reading this, obviously it had never really happened.

Which, once again, happens to be a real shame, since these guys had obviously had it, coming up with quirky little power-pop numbers (Sunny Day People, Blue-Green Eyes), with more hooks within a single song than most of their contemporaries were able to deliver throughout their whole careers, along with one of the most authentic Beatle-tributes ever (!) (Dear Undecided), being an imaginary ‘63/’64 single that the Fabs had never released, complete with an almost note-perfect Lennon-impersonation vocal delivery.

What’s more, there’s also some post-folk/pre-country Byrds-psychedelicacy (Ring Out Wild Bells), opening with an Entwistling tube-horn blow, to be spiced up with an additional Mamas & Papas vocal trickery, a monstrously fuzzed-out, horn-laden genre-defining piece of Britsike (title song), occasionally getting quite spooky, and therefore being the only thing in common with the equally spooky, and kind of inappropriate cover art, followed by the usually sunshiney, harmony-laden Roger Nicholls/Tony Asher co-written Always You.

The obvious stylistic mish-mash, might as well be one of the very reasons why the album didn’t take off in the first place, because the already mentioned variety of styles is placed alongside the lightweight, and just as harmony drenched latino rhythm of the Adrissi brothers-written Edge Of Love, an out-of-place, though decent enough and kinda jazzy cover of the Everlies’ Let It Be Me, a kind of a psychedelic-gone-bluesy closing ballad So Sad, as well as some hard-edged, blue-eyed soul stomp of Easy Does It.

Not really being buried deep under the sea, thanks to a number of die-hard psych fans around the world, it finally seems as it’s time for Captain Nemo’s submarine to “float downstream”.

[Released Rev-Ola 2007]

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