Albums similar to the middle era Beatles, Pet Sounds and/or Odessey & Oracle
We Are Ever So Clean Released November 24, 1967
Here's a surprising Pitchfork review of the 2007 anniversary release of the album:
"Blossom Toes were the twee-est band of all time-- twice as twee as the Dukes of Stratosphear covering "(Listen to the) Flower People" in front of an audience of animated chipmunks, thrice as twee as a Keane painting magically brought to life by a sprinkling of fairy dust and singing the Fluff Fluff Fluff Fluff and Cuddleyness catalogue. Originally the Ingoes, one of ten million British blues bands who desperately wanted to be the Yardbirds, they hooked up with their idols' manager Giorgio Gomelsky; just as flower power was taking off, they were directed to become psychedelicists and change their name, for reasons having less to do with LSD than pounds-shillings-pence.
In the new reissue's liner notes, the Toes claim their songs were all written by the time somebody played them an acetate of Sgt. Pepper's in the studio. If so, "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever" seems to have hit them like an acid bomb, because virtually every song here can trace its DNA to the Beatles' psychedelic moment, from the harmonies to Kevin Westlake's Ringofied drumming to the quick-changing orchestrations accompanying the chime of their twelve-string guitars to their general sense of persistently tuneful music-hall whimsy as the corridor behind the doors of perception.
They don't waste time getting around to it, either: The opening track begins with a backwards-guitar fade-in before singer/guitarist Brian Godding exclaims "Look at me I'm you! Look at me I'm you!" Godding was the band's main songwriter, although guitarist Jim Cregan also gets in a couple of good ones, especially "When the Alarm Clock Rings" (later recycled as the closing track of the Nuggets II compilation), and Westlake contributes a song called "The Remarkable Saga of the Frozen Dog", which is as look-at-me-I'm-high as you'd guess.
And virtually everything on the original album works beautifully-- they'd spent years streamlining their attack on stage, including a stint backing up Sonny Boy Williamson, so the spaced-out playfulness of their lyrics and singing is balanced out by fine, tough musicianship. "Hurry up, sleep, take me/Or I'll be late for tea," they croon, but even as an overdubbed French horn paraphrases the "Penny Lane" coda, Westlake and bassist Brian Belshaw are playing crushingly hard."
Aerial Ballet Released August 1968
AMG review :
"As "Good Old Desk" opens Aerial Ballet with a cheerful saunter, it's clear that Harry Nilsson decided to pick up where he left off with his debut, offering another round of effervescent, devilishly clever pop, equal parts lite psychedelia, pretty ballads, and music hall cabaret. It's not a carbon copy, however. In one sense, he entrenches himself a little bit, emphasizing his lighter edges and humor, writing songs so cheerfully lightweight -- a love song about his mom and dad, an ode to his favorite desk, an address or two to a "Little Cowboy" -- that it may be a little too cloying for some tastes, even for fans of Pandemonium Shadow Show. Those are balanced by a couple major steps forward, namely "Everybody's Talkin'" and "One." The former finds Nilsson adopting a rolling folk-pop backing for a Fred Neil song, making it into an instant, Grammy-winning classic. The latter was the greatest song he had written to date, a haunting tale of loneliness reminiscent of McCartney, yet with its own voice. These are the songs anchoring an album that may be a little lightweight, but it's engagingly, deliberately lightweight. If it's a bit dated, it wears its old charms well."
Happy Together Released April 1967
The Turtles's best studio album includes the title hit, "She'd Rather Be with Me," "Guide for the Married Man," and then-unknown Warren Zevon's "Like the Seasons," among other songs.
Without Earth (1968)
AMG review :
"Moon were a sort of second-tier supergroup in the late 1960s, led by pianist and songwriter Matthew Moore, drummer and producer Larry Brown (late of the Bel-Aires and Davie Allan & the Arrows), and ex-Beach Boy David Marks on guitar, with Andy "Drew" Bennett on bass (Bennett was replaced by the time of the group's second album by David Dawson, formerly of Hearts & Flowers). For all that pedigree, though, Moon received little support from their label, Imperial Records, and the group's two albums, 1968's Without Earth and 1969's Moon, went virtually unheard when they were released. Fans of period pop psychedelia found the albums irresistible, however, and the group has enjoyed a kind of low-key cult status ever since, leading to Rev-Ola's reissue of both albums on one CD, along with a handful of bonus tracks that include a couple of mono 45 mixes and three tracks from Moore's pre-Moon band, Matthew Moore Plus 4. Sounding a bit like a low rent version of the Zombies or the Left Banke, it is easy to see why fans of baroque-'60s pop are so enamored of Moon, but like many bands from the era who fell under the influence of the Beatles, the absence of strong songs and melodies all too often renders the heavily phased and string-laden arrangements forgettable as soon as the next track begins. Not that the group doesn't get close to pop-psych heaven here with songs like "Someday Girl," the goofy, sitar-laced "Brother Lou's Love Colony," or the ultra-Beatlesque "Give Me More" (all from Without Earth), it's just that the swirl of the arrangements can't hide the fact that none of these songs are particularly front line. The songs from the second album, Moon, fare better, as Brown (both albums were recorded at his Continental Sounds studio) cuts back a bit on the orchestration and Moore simply delivers better material, like the haunting, beautiful "Lebanon" or the intriguing "Life Is a Season," which has Moore singing lines like "comprehension wields the sword that kills the fear" with agile, melodic ease. Also worth mentioning is the reincarnation revenge song "Pirate," which has a plot line so bizarre that it can't help but be memorable. When all is said and done, one wishes Moon had gotten a crack at a third album, since they were clearly inching toward the kind of uniqueness that might have allowed them to rise above their influences."