REVIEWS

**Working on a site update, but check below for the latest in reviews. Thanks for the support, everyone!**

A excerpt from Dave Thompson’s review of Strange Roads: The Songs of Rolled Gold for Goldmine Magazine (22 June 2017):

All fourteen of the “album”’s tracks are included, melded to the Action’s own prototypes but in such a way that it’s unquestionably the Society’s own album too. Ideas and possibilities that the demos toyed with are brought to brilliant fruition…
Read the full review here.

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Henry Schneider from Exposé Online calls The Action/Bowie 7” (Fruits de Mer/crustacean 73) “a nice little package of some songs most of us have not heard before.” Read the full review here.

Blurt gives the Sidewalk Society 7” of Action/Bowie covers 4 out of 5 stars. Read the full review here.

Dave Thompson of Goldmine Magazine says:
Four songs strong, two Action classics and a pair of Bowie oldies, Sidewalk Society’s customary clatter through the authentic barrage of sixties Britbeat might well have hit its peak (so far) here.
Read the full review here.

New Untouchables writer Graham Lentz says:
My view on covers is that it’s only worth doing if you’re going to add something or give the song a new lease of life with a new and different arrangement. I think Dan West, Jerry Buszek and Dan Lawrence have got the balance just about right.
Read the full review here.

Some thoughts from the Astral Zone:
“Can’t Help Thinking About Me” was originally released on a single by David Bowie with The Lower Third in 1965. It’s a great, energetic early mod/freak beat track that sounds quite a lot like The Who, and Sidewalk Society do a great job on it.
Read the full review here.

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Thanks to the New Untouchables website for a great review of Venus, Saturn and the Crescent Moon! Here’s an excerpt:

Made up of 12 tracks, with an interlude and chorale finale, this is definitely a two-parter. Side one (or tracks one to six on the CD) are of a distinctly sixties flavour. The use of orchestration and choice of instruments helps to enhance the feel of that decade. Over on side two (tracks eight to 13) the mood shifts into the seventies where the Bolan influence manifests itself on the title track. Occasionally I found myself thinking Dave Grohl had crept into the consciousness, but that’s not a bad thing. This is a contemporary album by a band using their influences to create new material. The fact that I have listened to this more than once because I liked it says a lot. If this is the standard of mod/power pop stateside, then it’s pretty high and in very good shape.

To read the review in its entirety, visit New Untouchables.

*****

A review of Venus, Saturn and the Crescent Moon in Shindig! No. 27:

Following the California trio’s rightfully lauded covers EP for Fruits de Mer in 2010, Sidewalk Society have finally made good on their promise and delivered an album of original material. Venus, Saturn And The Crescent Moon, the group’s second full-length, grooves on jagged, aggressive powerpop, breezy orchestral pop – as guest players help out on brass and strings – and jamming mod-psych freeform with amazing results.
As tightly constructed songs such as ‘Sign Of Evolution’ and the excellent ‘Abbey Chatsworth’ spiral into a raucous crescendo of guitar and drum abandon, it comes as no surprise to learn that founding members Dan West and Dan Lawrence bonded as kids over their mutual love of The Who. Other highlights include the album’s only instrumental, a lysergic mood piece titled ‘Shadows In The Sky’, the free-falling ‘Golden Parachute’ and the pop-psych mover ‘I Let Her Get Away’.
Alan Brown

Thanks, Alan and Shindig! 

*****

This is a bit of what Nathan Ford of New Zealand had to say about Venus, Saturn and the Crescent Moon:

The band are obvious anglophiles, and who can blame them – the U.K sixties scene of the mid to late sixties spawned a bunch of great stuff. The surprise here is that the band don’t sound a whole lot like any of the artists they’ve covered on the e.p, and have a much more diverse and varied sound than I expected.
The Who seem to have made a major impression, with drummer Jerry Buszek showing an impressive amount of energy and dexterity behind the kit which Keith would be proud to call his own. “If Only” would fit in nicely on “The Who Sell Out”, while the guitar explorations at the end of the rather excellent “Abbey Chatsworth” sound like the result of a youth spent obsessing over “Live at Leeds” – a noble undertaking.
Elsewhere though, there’s evidence of an awareness of seventies power pop that all the jangling twelve strings in the world can’t hide on “Silent Echo”, while “In Refrain” updates Elvis Costello’s vocal mannerisms, and “Nice Boys” is a neat power popper with keyboard work that’ll make you pine for Steve Nieve’s days in the Attractions.

For the complete review, visit Nathan’s site, The Active Listener. Thanks, Nathan!

*****

Michael Baron wrote a fantastic review about Venus, Saturn and the Crescent Moon for Pop Geek Heaven. We very much approve!

*****

Thanks once again to Pyschotropic Zone: Psychedelic Music Club for this review of Venus, Saturn and the Crescent Moon.

*****

From April 25, 2012

Here’s an excerpt of a Sorrow’s Children review by Mike over at Norman Records:

Psych revivalists Fruits De Mer have a couple more of their trademark covers comps out, including this one in which a succession of bands who wouldn’t sound out of place on the Old Grey Whistle Test cover The Pretty Things’ psychedelic landmark opus SF Sorrow. . . . Particularly enjoying Sidewalk Society’s warm, bouncy take on ‘She Says Good Morning’ with its scything trebly lead guitar parts, and Senrab Mendips turns ‘Baron Saturday’ into some kind of weird trippy baggy excursion for some mid-LP light relief, and The Loons put in a rousingly dense take on closer ‘Loneliest Person’.

Check out the full review at Norman Records. Thanks, you guys!

*****

Check out Rok Podgrajšek’s review of Sorrow’s Children over at The Rocktologist, Slovenia’s leading rock website.

*****

Massive thanks to Kris Needs for his review of Sorrow’s Children for issue 401 of Record Collector! Here’s a taste:

Almost amazingly, after Chicago’s The Luck Of Eden Hall announce SF Sorrow Is Born, each lovingly-crafted new version hits the right balance between astute replication and personal interpretation, names including Sidewalk Society, Langor, Senrab Mendips, Jay Tausig, The Gathering Grey, King Penguin and The Loons.

You can read the rest of the review at the Record Collector site.

*****

Here’s a March 8, 2012, Sorrow’s Children review out of Portugal. Thanks, Atalho de sons!

*****

Thank you, Simon Lewis of Terrascope, for your kind words about us and the other bands featured on Sorrow’s Children:

Staying firmly on track, “Good Morning” is beautifully rendered by Sidewalk Society, some fine keys adding a sparkle of sunshine to the tune before Hi-Fiction Science step up to the plate to deliver a stunning version of “Private Sorrow”, moody and magnificent, a version that takes the original and builds on it, making the song their own without losing touch with The Pretties sound.

Here’s the review in its entirety.

*****

Thanks, once again, Strange Brew Podcast, for your support.

Getting the LP off to a blistering start is The Luck of Eden Hall’s “SF Sorrow Is Born” respecting the original and playing it with aplomb. Sky Picnic bring out the Indian influence of “Bracelet of Fingers” to afore melding the track with sitar and tabla dynamics. Sidewalk Society, as usual, present a peerless interpretation of one of the album highlights “She Says Good Morning” – listen to the great guitar solo in the tracks outro. Hi-Fiction Science bring “Private Sorrow” bang into the modern era with a very different indie feel and infectious cyclical guitar, bass and drum hooks.

You can read the complete review here.

*****

A February 25, 2012, review of Sorrow’s Children by Mr. Atavist. Thanks!

*****

From May 19, 2011

Thanks so much, Olav M Bjornsen, for your review of our self-titled 2010 release on Fruits de Mer. We accept your five out of six stars graciously!

An excerpt from the original posted to Progressor: Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages:

The US trio SIDEWALK SOCIETY has one full album to its name, a self-titled CD issued in 2008. This self-titled EP from 2010 is its second production, a limited edition 7-inch vinyl record released by Fruits de Mer Records, a label specializing in re-recording of classic psychedelic songs. In this case “Lazy Old Sun” (The Kinks), “Dandelion” (The Rolling Stones), “(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me” (The Small Faces) and “In the First Place” (The Remo Four with George Harrison) are explored. Of these four tracks, I’d say that the songs by The Kinks and The Remo Four are given the most interesting treatment, the former with effective use of flugelhorn to add a brooding atmosphere contrasting with the energetic rhythms and lazy, dream-laden vocals and guitars, while the latter features sophisticated trumpet and what sounds very much like Mellotron adding a backdrop laden with finesse that suits this track perfectly. Both of these are brilliant efforts.

*****

Sincere thanks to Mark over at LosingToday.com for this pretty fabulous, not to mention fun to read, review.

An excerpt, if we may:

Best of the set though is the divinely tweaked re-appraisal of Remo Four’s ‘in the first place’ which here is given the kind of succulent autumnal symphonic majesty not normally heard outside of a Left Banke platter – utterly heartbreaking, crushed and dare we say sprinkled with a sumptuous head bowed noir caressed soft psych smoulder much recalling the Autumn Leaves.

Check out the full review here!

*****

Please visit the Shindig! site for all your psych, garage, beat, powerpop, soul and folk needs!

“Three new dispatches from Fruits de Mer, the DIY label that keeps on giving” (from Shindig! Jan/Feb 2011)

SIDEWALK SOCIETY

“Fruits de Mer’s latest bid for world domination comes courtesy of LA’s anglophile mod-psych troppers, Sidewalk Society. Not content with having dazzled us with their take on The Bee Gee’s ‘Red Chair, Fade Away’, on A Phase We’re Going Through, the fearless trio have decided to further disorient us with authentically-realised romps through The Stones’ ‘Dandelion’, Small Faces’ ‘(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me’, The Kinks’ ‘Lazy Old Sun’ and – possibly the best executed track here – The Remo Four’s ‘In The First Place’.

The Sidewalks manage to retain the queasiness of the latter by employing as many , if not more, instruments than the original – the ham-fisted piano and parping Mellotron are present and correct.

A blinding version of The Pretty Thing’s ‘She Says Good Morning’ will appear on a forthcoming FdM project with an album of original material promised. Bring it on.” (Andy Morten)

*****

Please be sure to visit Psychotropic Zone: Psychedelic Music Zone for more great reviews!

Sidewalk Society: S/T 7”
Fruits de Mer Records (FdM 014) This is a very nice EP with four cover tracks by Sidewalk Society from California. The band has previously been featured on Fruits de Mer’s A Phase We’re Going Through album that includes their version of The Bee Gees tune ”Red Chair, Fade Away” that was one of the LP’s highlights for many people. This time they have worked on four British psych pearls form the 60’s. The band’s biggest idols also originate the 60’s UK scene: early Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Zombies, The Yardbirds etc. There should also be a full album with original music out soon by them and I’m really looking forward to that.”Dandelion” by The Stones sounds really good played by Sidewalk Society. The vocals and backing vocals work extremely well and the innocent hippie summer vibe of the original has been preserved in a great way. The sound is really clear and transparent like on the rest of the disc. This trio has recorded all the music live in the studio and added some “fairy dust” so there is also some keyboards and acoustic guitar in there. Superb! The Small Faces’ ”Tell Me (Have You Ever Seen Me)” rocks a tad harder in the genuine mod style. “Lazy Old Sun” (The Kinks) is more psychedelic stuff and this sure is a fantastic song. The EP’s most obscure number is the beautiful, melancholic and peaceful psych pop piece ”In the First Place” by The Remo Four. This song was originally recorded with George Harrison in 1967 for his first solo project which was a soundtrack album for the Wonderwall movie but was not used back then. The track was totally forgotten for decades until George Harrison delivered the original multi-track tapes of Wonderwall to director Joe Massot who has trying to hunt down high-quality audio for the re-edit of his movie he was working on and found one song with vocals from the otherwise instrumental tapes! A single was released in 1999 and the track is also included on the restored version of Wonderwall. Sidewalk Society turns this rare, atmospheric treasure into rather orchestrated, amazing version that has for example piano and Mellotron sounds that touch your soul and bring to mind The Moody Blues during their prime. Also the vocals are just brilliant. This stuff sounds so good! This colour vinyl that will be released later this month is a limited edition as usual and Andy and Keith have also promised to throw in a poster for the initial copies. Hurry up!www.myspace.com/sidewalksocietywww.fruitsdemerrecords.com
19.11.10 by Dj Astro

*****

From December 9, 2010

Most definitely visit the Norman Records blog!

Brian gave this 4/5.

Now as far as 60s covers & the bands who play that trade go, I’m usually not that arsed. I’ll happily roll around in the dewy grass of my mind to the originals thanks, preferably with a miniskirted fox for company blowing dandelions in my face & rolling me huge jazz fags into the equation ;0]. This American band make the prospect of 60s covers seem like a good idea again. One of the standout bands from the patchy ‘A Phase We’re Going Through’, they’ve got a really deep, rich authentic sound which sounds vibrant & spacious without compromising the strongly hazy psychedelic feel of the original songs. The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Stones & The Remo Four are the recipients of some really affectionate, brilliantly played tributes here. None of the choices are really the most obvious either (although not so obscure as to render them oblique to lesser 60s heads such as mesen) which endears them further. For people who like the more West Coast sound or even a muscular answer to contemporary Brit bands such as The Clientele – this 4 tracker is a cracker for the nostalgic & rose-tint spectacled amongst you.

Buy it: Sidewalk Society by Sidewalk Society £4.99 (7″, Fruits De Mer)

*****

From December 7, 2010

Please check out more psych, rock and prog at Head Full of Snow!

What’s this? Another offering from the Fruits de Mer label? Hell’s teeth! Are they trying to spoil us or something?

What’s this? Another offering from the Fruits de Mer label? Hell’s teeth! Are they trying to spoil us or something?

sidewalk society - fruits de mer vol 14 cover

The fourth FdM release in a matter of a month is by the Sidewalk Society. They appeared on A Phase We’re Going Through, the fine Fruits de Mer album released earlier this year, performing the rare Bee Gees psychedelic excursion, ‘Red Chair, Fade Away’.

For this EP, released on limited edition vinyl as per, it’s once again a case of lesser known tracks from household names. Four, in fact.

There’s ‘In the First Place’, originally by George Harrison and The Remo Four; ‘(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me?’ by The Small Faces; ‘Lazy Old Sun’ by The Kinks; and finally, ‘Dandelion’ by The Rolling Stones.

These are all given a jolly good seeing to by L.A.’s own, Sidewalk Society. That’s right; it’s our colonial cousins reinterpreting songs by some thoroughly British bands. I say, dashed unsporting, what? God Save the Queen and all that!

But wait. Before questions are asked in the House and heads encouraged to roll, let’s take a listen.

By George! I do believe they’ve got it. The rain in Spain does fall mainly on the plain, or, in this case, the Mojave Desert.

Such Rex Harrison caddishness aside, Fruits de Mer Vol. 14 is a rare vintage indeed. One bottled in 1967 and decanted now, just in time for Christmas. All four of the tracks were originally recorded in that year and Sidewalk Society manage to capture the essence perfectly.

‘In the First Place’, intended as part of the soundtrack to the film Wonderwall but unreleased until the 1990s, is a suitably trippy affair that sounds not a little unlike Bill Wyman protégés The End. Sidewalk Society matches that hazy, circa ’67 vibe perfectly.

The Small Faces were always at the more raucous end of the musical spectrum, even during their psychedelic phase and ‘(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me?’ is no exception. This version captures the energy of Marriott and co. even invoking the spirit of the long-deceased lead singer for the shouts that augment the chorus and closing crescendo of “heyrs”. Immaculate, head-bobbing mod-rock.

‘Lazy Old Sun’ is a lysergic-fug of phasing and sound effects, psychedelic in every sense of the word and basting in the light of a late 60′s California sun. Every so often we’re reminded of the true source of this song, with typical Ray Davies moments of unaccompanied prose coming at the end of each verse. This technicolour reverie blends British and US psychedelia together for a sweeter-scented, if lethargic, summertime brew.

Finally, it’s the turn of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Dandelion’, a great song originally – as the B-side to ‘We Love You’, released following the much publicised drug busts – and a great song here in its Sidewalk Society overcoat. The fact it’s almost a carbon-copy of the original matters not a single jot.

A must for lovers of psychedelic pop and rock, Fruits de Mer Vol. 14 is a first-rate way to finish 2010 and one of the strongest FdM releases of the year.

You can order a copy of the Sidewalk Society’s EP (only 400 pressed) from the Fruits de Mer website.

Read more: http://headfullofsnow.com/sidewalk-society-fruits-de-mer-vol-14/#ixzz1EeFomDVf