The Cowsills “II x II”

I never thought I’d be recommending a Cowsills album here on the Storm but I guess stranger things have happened. II x II is considered the group’s finest album along with 1968’s We Can Fly. This lp was a concious attempt to get away from the Cowsills pop image and create something a bit more original and experimental. I think they succeeded marvelously as II x II is a great folk-rock album that saw the band writing more mature, reflective material.

Unlike a lot of sunshine pop groups, the Cowsills could actually play their own instruments. They did this well, along with writing most of the album’s material. Bill and Bob Cowsill wrote a lion’s share of this material, much of it in a gentle, lilting folk-rock style. Father best exemplifies this new approach being a beautiful folk-rocker with a lite psych mellotron touch – this track floats in the air like the best sun pop gems should. Some of the tracks like Signs and Anything Changes even rock hard in spots, much closer to power-pop in spirit but successful any way you slice it. Highlights are really hard to point out on such a consistent and varied album. Don’t Look Back, an early morning country-rocker with a strong CSNY influence is a real gem in the Cowsills catalog while The Prophecy Of Daniel And John The Divine is more abstract and easily their most advanced album cut – a mini masterpiece of lite psychedelia.

This lp should have proven to the world that there was much more to the Cowsills than great singles like The Rain, The Park & Other Things. The sound is very homespun and where the earlier albums relied heavily on studio technology this one doesn’t. When II x II was released the group was suffering a major commercial downfall. The album should have remedied this and repaired their critical standing amongst the rock world. Sunshine pop fans should not miss this near classic album. II x II has been reissued on cd in its entirety along with earlier album tracks under the title Painting The Day.

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“Don’t Look Back”

:D CD Reissue | 2006 | El Records | Painting the Day: The Angelic Psychedelia of the Cowsills ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1970 | MGM | search ebay ]

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