Kaleidoscope, “Kaleidoscope”

April 22, 2011
By Paul Simpson

Of the many psychedelic bands to use the name Kaleidoscope, this one was recorded one album in 1967 in the Dominican Republic, and released it in a limited edition of 200 copies by a small label in Mexico. Shadoks has just released it on CD, and it is worth checking out.  The majority of the tracks are pretty standard 2- to 3-minute psych-pop tunes, with fuzzy guitars, plenty of organ, catchy melodies, and foreign-sounding vocals sung in English.  “A Hole In My Life” immediately sticks out as something that could’ve been a hit, “Let Me Try” lays down the heaviest groove, and “Colours” is the acid-trip freakout.  The most out-there cut, however, is “Once Upon A Time There Was a World,” a devastating dirge about heartbreak that stretches past 8 minutes.

I’m guessing the band couldn’t find a whole lot of bonus material from around the time this album was recorded, so instead of unreleased outtakes or B-sides, there are three bonus tracks recorded later that should’ve just been left in the vault.  There are two tracks by group members Frank Tirado and Bodo Molitor, which retrospectively sound like cock-rock and slick country-blues-rock (i.e. a bad Stones imitation).  The last track is Kaleidoscope covering “Season Of The Witch” live in Mexico in 1969.  The band sounds like they’ve having a blast covering the hell out of the classic Donovan hit, but the recording sounds like it’s playing out of a baby monitor.

Ignoring these bonus cuts, though, Kaleidoscope’s album proper is an above-average rare psych album; not quite the “lost classic” that every one of these reissues always claims to be, but a really enjoyable album nonetheless.  I tend to enjoy Shadoks releases more than most of the other labels that reissue rare private-press psych albums, and this one follows suit.

Shadoks Music

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