Kontiki (Deluxe Edition)

Kontiki (Deluxe Edition)

The deluxe edition of Cotton Mather’s Kontiki adds new luster to this bona fide cult classic. Kontiki still packs a wallop today, thanks to its ambitious, hook-studded songwriting and a production approach that's at once homegrown and sonically sophisticated. Robert Harrison’s insinuating John Lennon–style vocals, Whit Williams’ protean lead guitar work, and Dana Myzer’s aggressive drumming tear into the tunes with a mix of joy and desperation. Every track here is outstanding, with surging upbeat numbers like “My Before and After” and “Password” offering a pleasing contrast to woozy psychedelic pieces like “Aurora Bori Alice” and “Animal Show Drinking Song.” “Vegetable Row” deserves special kudos for its sarcastic, Dylanesque weirdness. In sum, Kontiki reveals a musical imagination that brings something personal (and slightly crazed) to the classic pop/rock formula. The deluxe edition’s full-sized helping of demos and discarded tunes range from the wistful “Innocent Street” to the hard-bashing “Alter Boy” and the ruefully spacy “Flying Annie’s Kite.”

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