The complete recordings of July – a set that features their rare original album, unreleased tracks, and lots of surprisingly great later material too
! First up is the self-titled July album from 1968, presented in both mono and stereo mixes – the debut album from July – a group who only gave the world this gem of a record back at the end of the 60s – but who've gone on to become legendary, based on the strength of the set! The whole thing is a real standout in the psych scene of the UK – well-crafted songs that are tight, but groovy and loose at the same time – tuneful, but filled with experiments – and produced with just the right sort of inventive qualities to make the special flourishes and individual moments of genius really come to light! There's so many great things going on here – an all-rich, no-filler record that's filled with gems that include "My Clown", "Dandelion Seeds", "Jolly Mary", "Hallo To Me", "You Missed It All", "The Way", "To Be Free", "Crying Is For Writers", "I See", and "A Bird Lived". Next is Second Of July – a great counterpart to the legendary self-titled album from July – material recorded in a private setting, to predate that psych masterpiece – but every bit as stunning overall! The quality of this work goes way beyond its origins as demo material – as the sound is wonderful, the musical ideas very rich, and overall psychedelic conception is amazing! There's no overindulgence, but also no easy pop psych modes either – and it's really incredible how much these guys can pack into a short
song – from unusual guitar lines, to freewheeling rhythms, and trippy ideas in the lyrics. Many numbers have a sweet groove underneath, and are slightly freakbeatish – but there's also a much more unique feel to the record as well. Tracks include "Dandelion Seeds", "You Missed It All", "My Clown", "Friendly Man", "I See", "The Girl In The Cafe", and "Move On Sweet Flower". The box set then moves into two later albums from a re-formed group – Temporal Anomaly and Resurrection – both of which feature material conceived over a number of years, issued on Resurrection in 2013, and on Temporal Anomaly here for the first time ever. Tracks are great – still very much in the spirit of the classic material, and produced with a nicely understated vibe. Last up is The Wight Album – a recent project from July – still sounding surprisingly great after all these years! At this point, the group is a duo – original members Peter Cook and Tom Newman – but they really manage to craft some great sounds here, with a style that ties back to their initial recording in 1968, and which features some of the successful flourishes of their revived activity from about a decade ago! The tunes are way better than any sort of younger attempt at material like this – mostly because there's a nicely understated, although still quite psychedelic, approach to the whole thing – maybe a reminder that with the best psych records, charm is every bit as important as fuzz. Titles on the double-length set include "The Traveler", "Sophie", "Special Guy", "Henry's Squirrel", "Seeking The Hacksaw Blades", "The Game", "What's Gonna Be", "Disco Klingon", "Mods Of Ryde", "It's Up To Me", and "Once When We Was Free".