Friday, 26 December 2014

The American Metaphysical Circus (The United States of America, 1968)

When it comes to proto-prog era, some American bands played an essential role in opening new musical paths and in exploring weird, psychedelic and/or electronic sounds. That's exactly the case with The United States of America, a band who released one album only in 1968, giving us one of the most complete reviews of late '60s musical state of the art. You'll find almost everything in this album and especially in this song: psychedelic, acid sounds, electronic keyboards, dissonant chords, eclectic cultural references.... in a word, all the rough materials prog rock is made of.

This is the 2004 CD version of the album, including some outtakes.
 
There was no guitar in this band, so they exploited every new and weird devices to replace it. There's a beautiful melodic line in this opening track, and some pleasant vocal harmonies too, but the musicians surround it with such an unusual deal of effects and sounds that the singers seem to be lost in an alien world, between the outer space and Disneyland. It reminds me of Zappa, of course, but I bet you'll find here some tasty prog previews too...