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THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The United States Of America

 

Proto-Prog

4.18 | 44 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

the philosopher
5 stars In the psychedelic scene many unique sounds are to be heard, but seldom as unique as this jewel: the United States of America. The bizarre soundeffects this band delivered were sometimes made by own-made instruments of the genius of this band: Joseph Byrd. Therefor no other band sounds like this one. The music is very experimental - sometimes avant-garde - and was far ahead of it's time. Actually is sounds still fresh. This is my favourite record out of 1968 and I hope I can convince you why.

It all starts with the bizarre happy psychedelic fair piece at the beginning of "the American metaphysical circus". It's a chaos of happy sounds with barrel organ sounds, trumpets, drums and then some high pitch sounds come forth which I can not identify. The vocals of Dorothy Moskowitz - one of the best woman vocalists I've ever heard - starts with the many couplets this song have. There are many psychedelic spacy sounds effects which only can be heard a few years later in krautrockphenomena like Faust. The vocals become slowly more distorted as the song continues and the spacy sounds become more prominent. The drums become more intensive and the vocals become even more distorted. Then the song fades away and the psychedelic fair sounds of the beginning start all over again. - Woh!, what a great moment: can music become better?

"Hard coming love" starts with a distorted violin solo accompied with high pith (calioscope? sounds. Also here are lot's of spacy effects during the couplets. And in fact the spacy effects here sound like synthesizer spacerock of Klauz Schulze or Tangerine Dream, but in this time those instruments were not available. How did the USA did it? The "Cloud Song" is a song with some nice harmonie for the listening. A bit like meditation music which create fantasy soundscapes with dreamy vocals. "The garden of earthly delights" has some similarities with "Hard coming love".

"I won't leave my wooden wife for you, sugar" is a different sounding song. Joseph Byrd is on the vocals here with background vocals of Dorothy. The song is a happy psychedelic song with a jazzy couplet's and all over-the-top psychedelic musical intervals. This song is also really great. The first side of my vinyl record ends with some harmonic trumpet session.

-Side two- "Where is yesterday" begins with some churchlike chorus with a slightly dissonant keymelody. The lyrics are in latin to complete the idea. Joseph Byrd and Dorothy start singing and slowly on the song changes more into a rock song. "Coming Down" is a bit more normal, but still the atmosphere created is really distinctive of every other psychedelic band I've ever heard. "Lovesong for the dead Che" is a lovely song with a real nice easeful nature.

"Stranded in time" is the only song which sounds quete familiar, because it sounds really inspired by violin drived songs of the Beatles. This is somewhat more up-tempo however and there is some great instrumental bridge in it. "The American way of Love" is somewhat more aggressive and acid, but contains some nice barrel organ intervals. This song continues with spacy effects turning in old-school happy music with a childish like chorus. After this a great tape-manipulation circus starts with fragments of all earlier songs within a spacy context and acid outcry's with "Love?". Also some synthesizer-like and circus sounds are bombarded at you. When the repeating of "How much fun it's been?" starts, the song also turn into some Walt Disney like romantic atmosphere and then the records stops. Well, this is a hell of an ending track!

I've mentioned it before, but this record is really unique. This is IMHO more groundbreaking then The Court of the Crimson King or whatever record. The starting track "The American Metaphysical Circus" may be my favourite track of all times. After dozens of listenings I still really enjoy it. Even within the class of masterpieces this is one of the best!

the philosopher | 5/5 |

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