The Critters – Younger Girl


Released on Kapp Records in 1966, Younger Girl is the debut album of the little known pop rock band from New Jersey––The Critters. Modeling their name off of other successful 60s bands (The Beatles, The Animals, The Turtles, etc.), The Critters hoped to rise to fame by combining pop harmonies with the developing rock ‘n’ roll style. Throughout the album the band moves from pop songs to surf/garage rock songs with varying degrees of success. While The Critters gained some mild success for their cover of John Sebastian’s “Younger Girl,” it’s hardly their best pop harmony on the album. “Children and Flowers” and “He’ll Make You Cry” stand out as songs that best capture the   band’s harmonic qualities. Both songs are catchy and sweet without becoming too much of a cliché 60s pop song. In fact “Children and Flowers” seems to foreshadow the psychedelic pop/bubblegum pop sounds of bands like The Box Tops. Besides being firmly rooted in the world of 60s radio-friendly pop, The Critters also dabble in garage rock with songs like “It Just Won’t Be That Way” and “Blow My Mind.” While both songs stand out as very good examples of mid-60s garage rock, “Blow My Mind” might do just that. It’s loud, obnoxious, stripped down and generally the exact opposite of “Younger Girl.” Fans of the heaviness of garage rock maybe even protopunk will  be amazed that this song even made it on the album. Although The Critters find success on both ends of the mid-60s spectrum, the album as a whole still leaves something to be desired. Where the band falls flat, they fall pretty hard. Songs like “I’ll Wear a Silly Grin” give the sense that the album was hurriedly thrown together with too much filler. Perhaps if they had spent a little more time in the studio or a little more time writing songs, this album could reach even higher points. Despite these unfortunate misgivings, the album is still worth getting a hold of. There are some pretty audacious songs, and 60s music lovers will be able to find something for them whether they are pop enthusiasts or garage rock addicts.  B

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