Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Love 2: Da Capo

By the time they recorded their second album, mere months after the release of their first album, Love had already started to evolve. The five-piece was now seven, having added a new drummer and a woodwind player, and moving the man known as “Snoopy” over to keyboards. Even the cover of Da Capo reflected the transformation in its restaging of the first album’s photo.
Their sound had more jazz and classical effects, beginning with the harpsichord and sax all over the chaotic “Stephanie Knows Who”. Arthur Lee sings all the songs on the album, even on “Orange Skies”, demonstrating Bryan MacLean’s propensity to write songs about ice cream. “¡Que Vida!” is wonderfully poetic, matching the Latin beat and an infectious finger-picked guitar. The mood is immediately destroyed by the marvelous “Seven And Seven Is”, released earlier as a single that amazingly charted. Its galloping beat manages to stay steady all the way through the atomic explosion at the end. The challenges continue on “The Castle”, an extremely complicated yet mesmerizing composition. Slightly more straightforward is the should-have-been hit single “She Comes In Colors”, the title of which would in time be stolen by the Stones for “She’s A Rainbow”, while the main flute section would be stolen by Madonna for “Beautiful Stranger”.
While side one is a nearly perfect album side, the same cannot be said for side two. “Revelation” is a nineteen-minute jam framed by a harpsichord solo, otherwise consisting mostly of harmonica blasts and Arthur yelling over a boogie beat. (Oh, and there’s a drum solo too.) It may have been groundbreaking to have a single song take up an album side; after all, Dylan and Zappa did it, but those were at least double albums, and it also helps if the song is, you know, good. “Revelation” is not. Maybe one must be high to appreciate it?
Still, the quality of the six songs on side one makes Da Capo a worthy follow-up. (In fact, all of side one was included on Rhino’s excellent 1995 Love Story anthology, which would be essential had it also included all of the first album.) Today the album is, again, only available as a download but, also again, the 2002 Elektra Classic import CD has it in both mono and stereo, with excerpts from the recording sessions for “Seven And Seven Is”. Of course, that also means it includes “Revelation” twice.

Love Da Capo (1967)—
Current CD availability: none; download only

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