Originally notable for their unrestrained, punkish fury, the Pretty Things made their name as the group with longer hair, louder amplifiers, and more snarling badinage than even the Rolling Stones, yet made a startling mid-career shift into accomplished psychedelia. Some identify their 1968 release S.F. Sorrow, as the first concept album of the psychedelic era, but the previous year’s slightly schizophrenic Emotions is the album that first saw the Pretty Things stretching out stylistically and struggling compellingly to articulate an identity beyond the “brattiest blues band in town” persona they’d already worn so well. Emotions occupies an important place in the group’s catalogue and contains a number of songs that rank among the group’s best. Producer Reg Tilsley supplied the mannered folk rock arrangements, but the odd chord progressions and nascent psychedelic experimentation of numbers like “The Sun” and “Growing In My Mind” show songwriters Phil May and Dick Taylor moving towards the crunching psychedelia that would make S.F. Sorrow such a success.

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