Friday, July 13, 2018

Tomorrow, Mabel Greer's Toyshop, Yes?

Clad in a cloak of psychedelic allusions, Tomorrow checks in as one of the best albums of its colorful kind. Released in February 1968, the LP rockets in with "My White Bicycle," which spins and sputters with backmasked guitars and sine wave oscillations. Its whispery vocals give the track a strange, spacey bent. Although "My White Bicycle" sports lysergically-cadenced lyrics, the opener is actually an ode to Dutch anarchists. Propelled by clanging sitars and racing rhythms, "Real Life Permanent Dream" is Tomorrow's "Incense and Peppermints." Commercial pop aspirations rise to the top on cuts like the bubbly dance hall flavored "Shy Boy" and "Auntie Mary's Dress Shop," which hops and skips along at a buoyant pace to tinkling piano fills and cheery melody lines.

Reflections of the West Coast, like a cool collaboration of the Grateful Dead and Younger Than Yesterday-era Byrds, creep in the crevices of "Now Your Time Has Come," with its inspired improvisation and catchy earworm arrangement. The remaining tunes fritter away the moments that make up a dull day with their Pinky ambiance, eeking out a solid 40 minutes of hallucinatory fun.

Following their solitary album, Tomorrow went their separate ways with Drummer, Twink, joining the Pretty Things and guitarist, Steve Howe, eventually replacing Peter Banks in Yes.

In 1967, Tomorrow was as spacey as Pink Floyd, and along with The Soft Machine, a part of UFO's biggest draw. Coming in in the midst of the psychedelic craze, Tomorrow did it better than most, but it's hard to clearly envision the virtuoso guitars of Steve Howe as a psychedelic tool. Tomorrow is a clear AM5 on the general rubric, maybe an AM8 if one were to whittle it down to psychedelia, but I for one am thankful that the project, along with Chris Squire's stint in The Syn and Mabel Greer's Toyshop (with Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford - who answered an ad in Melody Maker - and Peter Banks) was shortlived. Are the names ringing any bells? Though Mabel Greer's Toyshop was the brainchild of Clive Bailey and Bob Hagger, sans the founding members, the remaining foursome changed their name to Yes in 1969 with Squire inviting Tony Kaye to join them shortly after. Mabel Greer's Toyshop never released an LP (until 2015!), yet they too became a staple at the Marquee and the UFO, opening for Hendrix, The Soft Machine and The Nice.