Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Portraits “1966-68”

(Music Gem) This CD collects a dozen cuts -- singles, unreleased tracks, and beer commercials (!) -- recorded by Milwaukee-born, L.A.-based band the Portraits. What’s most notable here is that the group sung harmony like the Four Seasons or Chicago’s Buckinghams (and they fell in with Mike Curb, so lush production, and orchestral flourishes were not unheard of) BUT they were a self-contained band in the late 60s, so they were not adverse to fuzzed-out guitar effects. This marriage of sweet, floral harmonies and nasty guitar sounds sometimes is amazing and sometimes is jarring. The former helped make their original arrangement rock n roll version of “Over the Rainbow” pretty awesome, the latter meant they made sense on one of Curb’s biker movie soundtracks (they were no Arrows, but their “Devil’s Angels” has some nice sounds on it). The beer ads (for Schaefer, singing the DUI-encouraging motto, “the one beer to have when you’re having more than one”) were the results of a contest win, and are kinda corny, but made me thirsty, so good job, Portraits!

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