Picks and Pans Review: Sometimes That's All We Have

updated 04/03/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/03/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Sneetches

Warning: Consult your calendar before sampling this record, or you may come unglued. It's like stumbling though a door into the past. We're talking pop music circa 1968. We're talking Herman's Hermits meets the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Donovan backed by the Beau Brummels. The songs, the arrangements, the harmonies, the instrumentation, all suggest a psychedelicized Mersey Beat. This intriguing approach is the signature sound of the Sneetches, an Anglo-American group based in San Francisco. (The band's name comes from a Dr. Seuss story.) Living in the past as they do, the group walk a very fine line. When their anachronistic elements coalesce, as on "Unusual Sounds," "Nowhere at All" or "In a Perfect Place," the results are delicious. About as often, the band merely sounds amateurish and pretentious. They're clever if not consistently gifted songwriters, though, and while other good contemporary groups, such as Let's Active and XTC, have experimented with blending '60s pop styles into their sound, no one has done it so faithfully or with so little irony. (Alias)

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