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Ultimate Spinach - Behold And See CD (album) cover


Ultimate Spinach


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.84 | 37 ratings

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3 stars The second Ultimate Spinach album is quite similar to the first in most respects: inauthentic, commercially-minded suburban psych pop from Boston. Band leader Ian Bruce-Douglas once again delivers pretty much all the songwriting, and once again is a little over-the-top and pretentious in his delivery. This is particularly evident with his faux righteous-indignation in the disjointed and rambling lyrics of “Visions of your Reality”, as well as the unconvincing ‘enlightened hippy’ chanting of “Fragmentary March of Green”.

Musically I like this record more than the first, and both of them more than the purely commercial final album. The biggest annoyance comes from Bruce-Douglas’ overblown lyrics. the band misses a huge opportunity here as well, with Bruce-Douglas delivering the majority of lead vocals while the much more appealing and capable Barbara Hudson is relegated to a supporting role. Several songs feature a guest vocalist though in Carol Lee Britt, who delivers ably although I still don’t understand why they felt the need to do this with Hudson available and more than up to the task.

The centerpiece of this album is the nearly ten-minute epic “Genesis of Beauty”, a slowly- building and almost hymnal-structured tale of fantasy that ends up being dominated by Bruce-Douglas’ chamber-organ sections and two-part female choruses featuring Hudson and Britt. This is a decent composition, but as with most of Ultimate Spinach’s music offers little evidence that they were willing to stretch themselves either musically or lyrically. “Mind Flowers” is another nearly ten-minute offering, this one steeped in some rather innovative psych guitar fuzz and odd meters somewhat along the lines of a less mature or convincing Doors sound circa “This is the End”.

The Ultimate Spinach song most often included in ‘various artist’ collections from this album is “Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse”, most likely because its five-minute length lends itself better to a compilation than the slightly better but longer alternatives on the album. The bulk of this tune consists of an extended improvisational jam session that bears some resemblance to “Jazz Thing” but otherwise doesn’t really represent the bulk of the band’s other music.

This is the best of the three Ultimate Spinach albums in my opinion, but since the whole of the band’s discography can’t be taken all too seriously that doesn’t qualify it for ‘essential’ status. A solid three stars though, and mildly recommended if you’re curious to hear what the contrived “Bosstown” sound was meant to be back in the late sixties.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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