Sadly, by this point, The 13th Floor Elevators were over. They had created some wonderful Psychedelic Rock, but like their band name insisted, bad luck had struck them. Still, this will no doubt be an interesting listen and is their third and final album. Let’s dive into it.
We kick off with Livin’ On which is a basic 12 bar blues and sounds a bit different from your regular 13th Floor Elevators sort of song. It has a more mellow feel, and a horn section as well. A nice listen, even if it lacks the energy and power of the previous songs by this band. A nice and chilled listen.
Following is Barnyard Blues which begins with a clean guitar sound and has Stacy Sutherland singing. Honestly, without Roky Erikson’s vocals, this is not as good as it could be. The drum section is very thunderous however and makes up for the lacking singing. It is a nice listen for late 1960s music, however, even though the vocal section sounds rather bored.
Till Then comes next, and is a really good slice of 1960s Pop/Rock. It sounds like it was recorded as a demo, and was rushed as a result. It’s a nice throwback to the era and is a refreshing listen. Halfway through, it changes tempo and goes into a super-fast piece. Good music here, a different listen.
Never Another is a more typical piece by The 13th Floor Elevators, which has Roky Erickson singing and the jug playing. It sounds really good, complete with a horn section to boot. A terrific effort, this is a definite quality listen.
After that is Rose And The Thorn which begins with a good piece of guitar riffage and church bells before the non-Roky singing commences. Honestly, without Roky Erickson, these songs do not come alive. Still, it is a good listen, and much better than many types of music on the radio today. It does have some great sounds here, but the singing is lacklustre, sadly. Good effort regardless.
Next is Down By The River which is a short piece with some blues style riffing. The combined vocals are an improvement, but once again, the lead vocals drag this down. Not a bad listen though.
Scarlet and Gold begins with some interesting Psychedelic Rock guitar riffs. It’s a good piece musically and is proof that the band had quite a few good numbers up their sleeve. A good listen, even if it lacks vocally. The guitar playing here is really quite good, and these songs, regardless of their flaws, are still great to hear. Nice 1960s music. Good effort regardless.
Street Song comes next. It has a fuzz electric guitar, and honestly sounds poorly recorded. It may seem like a throwaway number, but even if it is, is still a welcome addition to this recording. Seeming like a botch job, this is a lesser number from this album for that reason. A good, if rather lengthy, listening experience.
Following is the pretty awesome Dr Doom which actually sounds pretty cool, and has a horn section throughout. A genuinely good listen, not bad for a three minute Pop/Rock song. The mixing here is not great, and like the rest of the album, comes across as a botch job. Still, it’s good to hear regardless.
After that is With You which definitely would have benefited from Roky Erickson’s vocals. Still, it is a good number with a good example of decent bass guitar playing. It sounds refreshingly good. The musicianship here is wonderful, even if the singing is not so much here.
May The Circle Remain Unbroken is the last song here and has some spacey guitars and keyboards, to begin with. It sounds like a sound effect jam, and not really a proper song. Good to listen to, and despite lacking a Pop sensibility, this is a good listen. A nice way to finish this album off.
Okay, this is obviously not the best album by The 13th Floor Elevators. In fact, it seems like a botch job to appease fans. But given that, this is actually a very good listen. Too bad this was the end for the group. Some really good songs are here, even if they are not perfect.