The new one from Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel, When The Morning Greets You, out Friday on Rad Cat Records, is a burst of saccharine, one of those pieces of candy that bursts sugary juice when you bite into it. There's nothing very substantial here but the record is, almost in spite of itself, a lot of fun.
It's hard to take seriously this brand of neo-psychedelia when numbers here sound like the theme song to "Lidsville" ("Dreamer"), or that song Wonka sang as the riverboat went into the tunnel ("Are You Hypnotized"). And, I suppose, that's sort of intentional. The California-based Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel are mining a similar vein of Sixties-tinged pop that gave rise to that Paisley Underground wave on the West Coast so many years ago. Still, unlike those bands, Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel seem to be taking their cues more from The Electric Prunes than The Byrds. That said, the superb "Cosmic Bloom", the band ditches the chirpy-ness in favor of something more sinister and sinewy. Elsewhere, on the rough "Fuzz Phantom", Mr. Elevator sound a tiny bit like early Redd Kross, a comparison I think that the members of this band would appreciate.
For all that's here that is a bit too silly, for lack of a better word, there's a lot to enjoy. Every track on When The Morning Greets You is tuneful and full of bright riffs of the sort that propelled old Apples in Stereo records. At the same time, as stuff like "Let Me Be" shows, there's another side of this band more interested in texture and mood than a quick, tasty hook. At their very best, Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel manage to sometimes harness the strengths of those 2 sides of their style at once and produce pretty good, vaguely neo-psychedelic tunes.
[Photo: Sofia Karchi]