Black Hollies – Softly Towards the Light

January 01, 1970

(Ernest Jenning)


Back in the day you could tell if some putz “got”
psychedelia by asking him whether he dug the 13th Floor Elevators or
the Strawberry Alarm Clock. If they replied with the latter, well… ditch those
love beads and paisleys, pal, and go put on some chinos and Banlon! The Black
Hollies are the Alarm Clock of today, going through the right motions but with
no real grit or bite.


Pumping Farfisa, fuzztone guitar and Brit Invasion harmonies
(on “Run With Me Run”)? Check. Pseudo-cryptic lyrics hinting at carnal romance (in
“Lead Me To Your Fire,” which includes the tagline-speakin’ of-“come on down
from the 13th floor”)? Double check. Dreamy, minor-chord epics
cribbed from the Nuggets fakebook
(“Can’t Stop These Tears,” an Electric Prunes/Yardbirds pastiche)? Check-check-check!


There’s nothing inherently offensive about the Black
Hollies; a couple of these songs would sound great on a mixtape compiled by
Little Steven. Just don’t mistake ‘em for the real thing.


Standout Tracks: “Lead Me To Your Fire,” “Number Ten Girl” FRED MILLS


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