Home recording and the ease of indie releases have made for the ready sharing of our own private yesterdays. Some yesterdays are better left forgotten, but when shared with passion and craft, there’s no need to get hung up on the degree of retro-authenticity of the lo-fi recording, any anachronisms that sneak into the retro-themed lyrics, and the stitching on the band members’ Beatle boots. It was through this combination of passion and craft that the Unknown Mystery 60’s Group was able to pull the wool over the eyes of garage-collector sheep with their first release, which was successfully launched as having been culled from an unknown, mysterious tape at found at an outdoor flea market. With the newly released Volume III: Love Songs (Birdhouse Records), the band’s anonymous archivist in Spain has unearthed more recordings by these mysterious lads that sound richer, in parts, than their first two sets of recordings.
The sound of the latest from Unknown Mystery 60’s Group is as homemade and quaint as ever, but there’s more room for the songs to breathe and the imagination to wander. This is especially evident on gentle songs like “Butterfly” and
, which are fleshed out by light touches of orchestration (shades of Dave Gregory’s underrated work with XTC) and detailed harmonies.
Accusatory [Insert mid-60s “The” Group] Do Dylan-like rockers continue to be a staple of the band’s output. My favorite is “You’ve Changed”, which hints at Moby Grape’s “Omaha” if that San Francisco band spent less time worrying about giving us the finger and more time on their songcraft. Beatles’ movie-era-styled numbers also reign, the most “photogenic” of which is
As you hum and toe tap along with this CD, you’ll not need to break down the meter of the lyrics or plum literary depths for hidden meanings. The Unknown Mystery 60’s Group sing about stuff they know in a straightforward, sometimes humorous manner. For private memories, it’s hard to be much more inviting.
“Having You Here With Me”
“Three Hurtful Things”