Friday, September 26, 2014

Serenity - Piece of Mind (1972 new zealand, spectacular folk psych rock with blues and jazz flashes)

The sole album by this obscure New Zealand trio is decent early-'70s folk-rock with some occasional pop, psychedelic, and blues traces, though it's not notable enough to be of interest beyond the specialized collecting circuit. The trio do manage a pleasant low-key sound that has a slightly unusual, diffident, laconically hip quality, especially in the vocals. That makes for a nice change from the leagues of early-'70s albums colored by earnest blandness to the singing and songwriting. 

Like many rock records from the era made away from the main recording centers of the United States and United Kingdom, it has a slightly-behind-the-times feel, sounding more like a 1970 record than a 1972 one -- not a huge difference, but a notable one at a time when trends in pop music changed so rapidly. Several of the tracks sound a little like engaging minor league cousins to Country Joe & the Fish's better reflective psychedelic tunes, and a California psychedelic influence is audible in the harmonies and wafting organ of "Away from Here." Much of the material has a breezy feel that doesn't try too hard, nearing an almost jazzy sense of hippie cool on "Millions." 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Green And Sunny Weather (Malcolm Lane) - 4:15
2. Devil Man (Phil Briggs) - 2:26
3. Millions (Phil Briggs, Malcolm Lane) - 2:21
4. Away From Here (Rob Sinclair) - 3:01
5. Sea Time Rain (Phil Briggs) - 3:14
6. Chance With Freedom (Phil Briggs) - 3:07
7. Where Is The Lord (Phil Briggs) - 3:23
8. Sandalmaker (Phil Briggs) - 2:43
9. Pig (Rob Sinclair) - 2:37
10.The Golden Legend (Long Fellow, Kevin Bayley, Phil Briggs, Malcolm Lane) - 3:02
11.Shell (Rob Sinclair) - 4:37
12.Her Mind Holds You (Phil Briggs) - 1:58

*Malcolm Lane - Harmonica, Vocals
*Phil Briggs - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Rob Sinclair - Bass, Vocals
*Kevin Bayley - Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*Martin Hope - Acoustic Guitar
*Terry Crayford - Electric Piano, Organ
*Andrew Stevens – Flute
*Richard Burgess - Drums, Congas, Tambourine, Maracas

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