Monday, October 15, 2012

Les Sauterelles - View To Heaven (1968 swiss, flower beat pop with baroque tinges)

A Swiss '60s band that have sometimes been mistakenly identified as a British group due to their 1968 single "Dream Machine," a quite catchy and enjoyable facsimile of British flower pop with high harmonies, psychedelic lyrics, and driving guitars. The band had actually been recording since 1965, and established themselves as one of Switzerland's best and most popular groups. 

That's a status that isn't conferred upon most, Switzerland being a small country. Much of their first LP (1966) was filled with covers of popular rock hits. These were interpreted, however, with a brash energy that makes the record stand out above the scores of similar covers-oriented albums produced around the globe during the era. "Dream Machine" was a more original effort, and an album from 1968, View to Heaven, also had a more pronounced folk and psychedelic feel than their earliest outings. Les Sauterelles continued recording all the way into the early '70s, and several of their songs (notably "Dream Machine") surfaced on collector-oriented reissues in the '80s. 

Although much of this debut consists of covers of popular British and American rock songs of the mid-'60s, it's pretty enjoyable in spite of its unoriginality. The raw, almost punky cover of "Cheryl's Going Home" is terrific, and arguably better than the prototypes by Bob Lind and the Blues Project; not far behind is the moody reading of "No No No," a power-chord pounder originally performed by the obscure (in the U.S., at any rate) British Invasion group the Sorrows. Dylan's "Desolation Row" and "She Belongs to Me" are given 

British mod-type arrangements that, while they will most likely find no favor with most Dylan fans, have a refreshing irreverence that most Dylan covers lack; the Paris Sisters' wimpy ballad "I Love How You Love Me" is somehow transformed into a decent rock tune. The rest of the album doesn't match these highlights, yet it's a decent (and very rare) artifact of a Swiss band that no doubt wowed 'em live in their homeland; in the absence of frequent tours by the genuine originators, they were probably a pretty acceptable substitute. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Montgolfier - 2:43
2. Big Old Sun - 2:28
3. Hippie Soldier - 2:28
4. Hello, One Kiss, Goodbye - 2:00
5. Good New Times - 2:18
6. Where Have All The Flowers Gone? - 1:45
7. Silly Damsel - 3:44
8. Heavenly Club - 2:35
9. Homage - 2:27
10.Hotel Continental - 2:40
11.Dream Machine - 2:28
12.It's All Over Now Baby Blue - 3:12
13.Auf Wiedersehen - 1:15

Les Sauterelles
*Peter Rietmann - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Kurt (Dude) Durst - Drums, Vocals
*Rolf Antener - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Little Fritz - Organ, Piano
*Toni Vescoli - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

Related Act
1971  Toni Vescoli - Information (Korean remaster)

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