Tuesday, November 3, 2009


There may be some memorable songs lurking beneath the surface of this late '60s curio--the melancholy "Tucson" hits a nice, grey-day-on-the-American-road vein--but the sweetening machine, swathing the tracks with strings and Sgt. Pepper horns, shrill shopping mall harmonies, and arrangements from the Mamas and the Papas school of chart supremacy, work to undo the songwriting's modest strengths. Lead track "There Is Now," with its driving guitar underpinnings and swirling melody, also shows promise, its quieter moments capturing that peculiar mix of late '60s hope, need and fatalism. "Will you please come, and help me find a reason to be alive," wails singer Susan Alexander as the song reaches its apotheosis. Too much of the time, though, Euphoria reaches for a kind of Ian & Sylvia meets Spanky & Our Gang sheen, shiny but without much depth. Trainspotters will note that the group included Massachusetts-born Tom Pacheco, a fine criminally overlooked songwriter whose group the Ragamuffins made a couple of unforgettable mid-60s folk-rock singles, and who went on to work with Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and other Band luminaries in a long, intriguing career. (Luke Torn)

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