A stunner of a set from a group who should have been huge – especially given the sharpness and wit of this debut album! Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera bring together all the best strands of up and coming Brit rock of the time – a bit of psych undercut with some bluesy elements, mark
ed by a moddish smirk that really keeps the whole thing punched-up throughout – no overindulgence, no easy mark
for a hit – just a very individual sensibility that few of the group's underground contemporaries could match! These guys come across with all the personality of The Who in Happy Jack/
Magic Bus years – and have a similar use and distance of trippy elements of the time – almost tongue in cheek, but just because they find a way to shift between them and straighter rock so easily. Songs are all great, and really well-written – and apart from a version of Oscar Brown Jr's "I Was Cool", the set features original material that includes "Mother Writes", "Mary Jane", "Flames", "Lookin For A Happy Life", and "Walter Sly Meets Bill Bailey". CD features a massive 11 bonus tracks – single versions of a few album cuts, plus "Vocano", "Dreamy", "To Be With You", "Talk Of The Devil", and "And I Remember".