Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Year by year: 1966


There’s a sprawling double album featuring a curly-haired man with a trendy scarf on its cover that hangs like a fateful ghost over this year, but come on. Fifth Dimension is a classic, and the best proof that only The Beatles could rival these Americans for going to places nobody had explored before. Fifth Dimension is folk-rock pushed to spacey extremes.

But you get bored talking about what is groundbreaking and what is not. It’s the songs that matter, and I don’t think I know too many albums that can beat the seven-song stretch that opens this album. From the jangly title track to the space-rock epic “Eight Miles High”, this is all phenomenal quality. And somewhere in between I lose it completely to the David Crosby-sung “What’s Happening?!?!” that has a vocal melody that should be lazy but oddly isn’t. 

Not that what follows is any less fascinating. “Captain Soul” is a groovy instrumental that takes you places, and that vacuum-cleaning last track is, you will one day discover, a perfect ending for an acid trip. ‘Fascinating’ is indeed the only word here.