Blossom Toes

Blossom Toes never amounted to anything more than an opening act during their brief career between 1967 and 1969. But when the headliners were The Move, Soft Machine and a Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd, "opening act" wasn't too lousy a slot. Reissues of the band's only two albums, We Are Ever So Clean and If Only for a Moment, reveal Blossom Toes for what they really were: fearless psychedelic pioneers—just like all those groups they opened for. The quartet pumped fuzzy mod-pop full of circus music, careening harmonies, surreal effects, primitive drumming and, most important, LSD. "Look at Me I'm You" and "I'll Be Late for Tea," from 1967's Clean, could pass for early Floyd outtakes—if they weren't so intricate. Every song sounds like a mini-opera stitched together like a kaleidoscopic quilt.

It took two years for Blossom Toes to record a follow-up. In that time, the band must have listened to tons of Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart records, because Moment is a snarling prog-rock beast. It's all banshee wails, avant blues, garish virtuosity and social satire (they even diss "TV dinners"). Although the album contains some heady jams ("Listen to the Silence" in particular), this stuff doesn't go down quite as easily as the first record. Then again, prog, unlike mod, is designed to be difficult. Either way, Blossom Toes' rediscovery is further proof that London was a totally mind-blowing place in the late '60s.

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Justin F. Farrar

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