Over the last few years, it's become de rigueur for young bands to slap the "psychedelic" label onto their sound, even though more often than not they're about as psychedelic as The Brady Bunch. But for those wanting to dig deeply into the real thing by exploring the psychedelic substrata of the '60s counterculture, especially the U.K. variety, this three-disc anthology is an amply annotated, sonically succulent set to covet. Love, Poetry and Revolution eschews overexposed first-tier psych practitioners to illuminate the fulsome scene smoldering beneath the mainstream. In a few cases, that means spotlighting names known to most serious '60s rock geeks (The Misunderstood, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown), and documenting the fleeting psych-pop phases of aboveground acts like The Spencer Davis Group. But most of these 55 tracks are occupied by acts whose esoteric status is so succinctly described in David Wells' liner notes that it would be folly to try topping him: "artists who weren't even household names in their own households."
These intrepid forays into the paisley-patterned underbelly of '60s Britrock touch upon everything from literal flower-power paeans like The Crocheted Donut Ring's harpsichord-kissed baroque-popper "Two Little Ladies (Azalea and Rhododendron)" and The Cortinas' lone single, the falsetto-filled orchestral-pop rarity "Phoebe's Flower Shop" to Peter Howell and John Ferdinando's kooky, creepy psych-folk reboot of Lewis Carroll's absurdist poem "Jabberwocky" and the haunting, organ-drenched trippiness of "Strange Ways" by Please, a group from whom only previously unreleased demos exist. The cumulative effect of it all can be a heady one -- few will emerge from The Liverpool Scene's deliciously demented, feedback-frenzied stoner's sci-fi tale "We'll All Be Spacemen Before We Die" unaffected. But tune for tune, there are also a striking number of opportunities to wonder, "Why was this one not a hit?" From freaky adventures in the stratosphere to perfect pop nuggets, Love, Poetry and Revolution offers a lovingly curated, appealingly rendered alternate history of England's original psychedelic era.
Boys and girls, set your Hot Tub Time Machines for 1966. Director Mark Waters (500 Days of Summer, Mean Girls) just wrapped production on his latest movie, the Jim Carrey-starring Mr. Popper's Penguins, and has already lined up his next project: Get Back, a comedy about two obsessed Beatles fans who travel back in time to stop John Lennon from meeting Yoko Ono, thereby (theoretically) preventing the rock super-group from ever breaking up.
Waters is first in line to direct the project, from Chris McCoy's acclaimed script (it appeared on the 2007 Black List), and plans to begin production in London this summer, should a deal go through (there's always a hundred lawyers involved with anything Beatles-related).
It certainly sounds like a promising set-up for a film, assuming Yoko ever gives the project the go-ahead (she owns the life rights to her deceased husband, John). But the script's inclusion on the 2007 Black List gives us all kinds of hope that this is a worthwhile project, and one that eventually makes its way into production. Mark Waters is definitely in comfortable territory with a film like this, having directed several fantasy-comedies, like Freaky Friday, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Cross your fingers: if everything works out, Get Back should be casting the fab four this spring. (And why not bring back Walk Hard's hilarious line-up?)