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Sweet Smoke - Darkness To Light CD (album) cover

DARKNESS TO LIGHT

Sweet Smoke

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.09 | 45 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The second Sweet Smoke album is a bit of a gear shift from the first, the band having moved away from their previous focus on tripped-out side-long jams and overt weed references to present a more carefully composed set of actual, coherent songs.

The band hadn't just grown musically. In true hippy style, the gang had gone on a spiritual retreat to India after releasing Just a Poke - in fact, they didn't realise that it had become a minor hit until partway through the voyage - but on the strength of its success they were able to sign a contract with EMI when they got back. Thematically, Darkness to Light seems to draw a lot on the band's spiritual interests in general and their Indian voyage in particular., with Kundalini in particular incorporating various chants (I am not enough of a linguist to know whether they are invented or borrowed from their India experiences, I am afraid) and the title track also having overtly religious lyrics.

With each side consisting of two shorter songs and a longer jam, the band seemed to find a nice balance between the new compositional discipline they had learned and the freer, longer-form playing that was still part of the group's identity. I suspect that at the time of release, this must have seemed rather dated - whilst the band had been keeping the peace and love dream alive, the music world had moved on during their journeys, and the heavily psychedelic style of progressive rock they play here had long since given way to a more polished and technical and professionalised approach. Still, the passing of time has been kind to it, and the album represents an oasis of psychedelic sunshine and spirituality amidst the cynicism of the 1970s.

Warthur | 4/5 |

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