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Ultimate Spinach - Ultimate Spinach III CD (album) cover


Ultimate Spinach


Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.28 | 12 ratings

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2 stars The third and final Ultimate Spinach studio album belongs to the band in name only, all members save singer/guitarist Barbara Hudson having departed by this point. Hudson’s vocals are still quite striking, but the rest of the lineup consisted of journeyman studio musicians and MGM label stringers, and the tenor of the music is far removed from the commercial-leaning psych pop the band had churned out on their previous records.

The most significant departure was band leader, multi-instrumentalist and chief songwriter Ian Bruce-Douglas. The loss was apparent right away, with the band electing to cover the 1964 Reflections doo-wop hit “(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet” as the opening track.

Things would get a little better after that, but not much. Gone are the whiny psych guitar forays and extended compositions, replaced by blatantly commercial rock numbers with only a hint of the progressive sound the band had built their name on. By the middle of the record the group fell back on simple and only modestly embellished slow blues with the piano/guitar instrumental “Eddie's Rush”, a slightly more modern yet still blues-based “Strange-Life Tragicomedy” and uninspired vocal harmonies on “Happiness, Child”. The album closes with the guitar-driven generic rock number “The World has Just Begun”. That may have been true, but for the band the end had already begun.

The only track even remotely akin to the band’s better and early work is the heavy prog “Strange-Life Tragicomedy”, but even this falls short with its brevity and oddly-placed three- part male vocal harmonies toward the end.

I’m not a very big fan of this band anyway, but at least their first two albums can fairly confidently by classified as psych, and nearly as confidently as progressive. This one fails on both those points, and will only be of interest to hardcore fans of the band or those who really dig Hudson’s voice (and maybe not even them since she only sings lead on about half the tracks). This record is out-of-print today and probably should be. Two stars for collectors, but that’s all.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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