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The United States Of America - The United States Of America  CD (album) cover

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The United States Of America

 

Proto-Prog

4.14 | 59 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
5 stars Unlike many classic albums that are timeless, this sole album by the band THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is just the opposite. This is a musical masterpiece that takes you to a specific place at a specific time. That place being Southern California and the time being 1968. Although the main music is a very well played psychedelic rock of the West Coast variety in the USA, the uniqueness of this album, however, doesn't lie in the well executed performances of psychedelic rock from 1968, which is not only some of the best the era has to offer with the excellent vocals of Dorothy Moskowitz but the true uniqueness comes from the creator and brainchild of this ahead of its time band Joseph Byrd who learned how to use samples, electronic loops and all kinds of special effects that would take a good 20 years to become mainstream. In addition to his tape manipulation abilities he also is the player of all the electronic music, harpischord, organ, calliope, piano and also contributes the male vocals on the album.

This album is a REAL trip. A real trip that is back to the psychedelic 60s. This album perfectly encompasses EVERYTHING about the era in which it was released and then some. I should say it captures the spirit. This album does sound very 60s in its song structure, but it is very different in every way. First of all, there are guitars here. Most of the parts of guitars are replaced by keyboards and very strange and avant-garde sound effects. In addition to the standard bass and drums there is a strong presence of electric violin and ring modulator. The lyrics are very political and the hippie vibe of 1968 is dominant throughout the album. It has the feeling of an album that burrowed its way through a wormhole from the future and nestled itself into the year 1968 simply because it has both a dated feel with a futuristic embellishment.

If you want to hear an absolute classic of proto-prog from the late 60s then don't just settle for The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane or even The Doors but check out this strange yet pleasant album that one-ups everything else that was being released at the time with possibly the exceptions of maybe The Mothers Of Invention or Soft Machine. After this album Joseph Byrd would go on to create a sole album with his other band Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies. A 60s classic that has remained under the radar for far too long. I have the remastered version with bonus tracks and although none of them are essential, they are interesting to hear how the band evolved and also how some of the tracks without the electronic embellishments sound fairly plain. They offer a glimpse into how the marriage of both the excellent songwriting and electronic effects make the whole much more interesting than the sum of the parts.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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