The Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense and Peppermints

ImageUpon first glance of the album, it is immediately clear that Incense and Peppermints is a 60s psychedelic rock album. With bright colors, stylized letters, intricate designs and a photo of the band members wearing flowery clothing and lounging on equally flowery pillows, this album cover spews pure psychedelic essence. Released in 1967 on Uni Records, Incense and Peppermints is the debut album of one of the most influential psychedelic rock bands of the time. The Strawberry Alarm Clock didn’t just dabble in psychedelic music; they lived and played the entire essence of psychedelic culture. When preforming live, the band would come out on “magic” carpets and put on an entire display to go along with the music. Their commitment to the psychedelic culture is evident from the moment the needle drops. The album’s opening song, “The World’s on Fire,” is full of elaborate sound effects, heavy feedback from the guitars and surrealistic lyrics. The album continues along in this vein for most of the album, often relying on special sound effects to produce a very unique and captivating sound. One of the high points on the album is the song “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow,” which includes Steve Bartek playing a psychedelic flute. Although Steve Bartek was not considered an official member of the band, he played flute on several of the songs, and ultimately helped define The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s early sound. While most of the songs on the album are firmly based in rock ‘n’ roll, their most popular song, “Incense and Peppermints,” became part of the emerging psychedelic/bubblegum pop sound. It contains a catchy melody and strong harmonization while still maintaining a hefty dose of psychedelic sound effects. This album is most definitely a requirement for anyone with even a mild interest in psychedelic music. There really isn’t much to say against the album. It will always be a classic in the underground 60s music world.  A+