Photon Band - Oh, the Sweet, Sweet Changes

Darla
(DRL105: 708527010525)
Release date: 11/08/2000
Genre: Rock, Garage, Psychedelic



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Philadelphia’s Photon Band return with Oh the Sweet, Sweet Changes, their second full length of ’67-to-’69-styled mod-psych pop rock. The sound is more mature, harder and perhaps more urban than the Elephant 6 stuff, no bubblegum here, and perhaps the next evolutionary step. Photon Band fans who are fans of The Jam, XTC and The Who will be pleased. The Photons definitely deliver satisfaction in that department, but there’s something else at play too, something intriguingly and uniquely Photonesque. A post-Beatle path similar to the early, socially conscious, hard rock of John & Yoko, and even more so, some explored and some not-yet-re-explored early ‘70s rock iconography in the realm of T. Rex, Status Quo and Small Faces. The Photon Band often evoke that innocent period of American hard rock immediately post Beatles, pre-stadiums, when rock culture was still counter-culture, the medium’s message was of new values, anti-materialism, liberation from society’s aged constraints and eastern philosophy. Most of all, this record is a rockin’ good time. Photon creator Art Difuria formerly played guitar as a key member of The Lilys and Brother JT & Vibrolux. He now attends The University of Deleware where he’s getting his PHD in Art History. Art is backed by longtime Photons Simon Nagel on Drums and Jeff Tanner on Bass. Simon and Jeff also helped write some of the album’s new songs. Just like the first record, Oh the Sweet, Sweet Changes was recorded entirely on Art’s trusty old ¼ inch 8-track (The Frizz Mobile Unit), which first underwent a complete rebuild and tune up. So, now we can hear The Photon Band the way God meant them to sound. The record was keenly mastered by Kyle Stateham of Matador Recording Artists Fuck fame at his Black Eyed Pig Studios in San Francisco. The Photon Band have done numerous singles for labels like 100 Guitar Mania, Tappersize and CompulsiV. REVIEW of OH, THE SWEET SWEET CHANGES by Nick Berry for Muze: It was quite a gap between this full length and the preceding one ( the amazing, "All Young In The Soul") but well worth the wait. The Photon Band's unique perspective on dizzy psychedelia is a candy for the mind, indeed. Rockin' like The Who or the Kinks in their late 60's heyday, Art DiFuria and his band of merry men bring an unmistakable ray of hope, in the form of a little compact disc. Yes, "hope." Listen to the lyrics, there's a solid vibe of optimism throughout the disc. That's 'cause Art writes from the heart, not just some slavish, empty mimicking of a bygone style. And they do branch out their sound a little bit. "Disillusion" has a kinda "White Album" or even "Fresh Cream" (!) feel to it, with it's way-cool, bluesy guitar and a lead vocal that recalls warm tones of Jack Bruce. And, if you still need another fix of photon, don't miss their singles comp, "Our Own ESP Driven Scene." Indie-Psychedelic The Jam Abunai! The Kinks '65 to '68 The Who '65 to '68 Anything that rocked from '65 to '68 - Nick Berry From Pitchfork: Photon Band Oh, the Sweet, Sweet Changes [Darla] Rating: 7.5 I think you should know, I had it all planned out. Here's how things would go: I'd get in my car, drive in silence to the building, sit in the waiting room without once thinking of Fugazi, see the doctor-- all of this calmly, of course-- and after a quick, thorough examination, he'd tell me that, yes, my worries were legitimate, but no, there was nothing to be concerned about. I was okay; I could go home now. And that's when I'd fly out of his office, leap into my car and blast the Photon Band's sophomore full-length, Oh, the Sweet, Sweet Changes, because life, as often happens, had started anew. But the gods of literary convenience weren't on my side today, so it turned out quite differently. The sky was gray-- nay, more like grey, as the English spell it. In other words, the clouds were the sky. In even less words, it was overcast. But everything went as planned until I found myself stopping at intersections, staring at green lights. And once I arrived at the medical building, every window became a mirror of my fears. Would everyone-- doctors, patients, receptionists-- be able to see it on my face? Would they know I was there for an STD test? This, you should also know, is where the confessional style of music reviewing goes too far. But I digress. I sat in the waiting room, and before I knew it: "I am a patient boy/ I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait." There was no stopping it. Ryan, pick up your ten-month-old Harper's, I instructed myself. Read about the mysterious insularity of Silicon Valley. (I found myself staring at the diamond-shaped periods, instead.) A half-hour later, I was lying on loud white paper, pants pulled down, hands sweating, being examined while staring at the white cork ceiling and all its tiny holes, as if a kindergarten class armed with darts, tacks, and a case of Mountain Dew had been loosed upon the room. I wish I could tell you the outcome, but I can't-- not for fear of embarrassment, but because I don't know. I still don't know, really, since the doctor didn't seem to know-- that is, didn't seem to know what he was doing. Which is unfortunate because nothing about Oh, the Sweet, Sweet Changes has to do with irresolution or incertitude. Instead, this album is all about that feeling I suspect one gets after passing the gamut of STD tests with flying colors. Colors, also, is what this album is about. Just look at the leaves on the cover, as they change from summer's sun-bright yellow to fall's deep amber. And the music, I assure, bursts of natural color, because, as you may have guessed, the "sweet changes" are also coming from Art Di Furia's guitar. Just listen to the momentum building during the opener, "Genius." It begins with children's voices and a bell-- the close of recess, maybe?-- before Di Furia's guitar breaks in full of youthful energy, then retreats into reverberation as an echoed voice counts down from ten. The guitar opens up again, jumping chords like a child skipping rope, as Di Furia sings, "The first time I saw you there was sunlight in your eyes/ The genius that you are." And while "Genius" might have you thinking of influences ranging from the Who to XTC, the next track, "End of the Week," manages to combine the rollicking Status Quo with any number of long-forgotten psychedelic bands; and then there's those occasional deliberate guitar chords straight out of Something Else by the Kinks. With one foot in early shoegazer and the other in The Who Sell Out, "Could It Be?" maintains the surprise factor. Then, "Disillusion" exhibits a heavy Beatles influence, resembling low-key numbers like "Sexy Sadie." The Photon Band is like this all the way through Changes, thereby teaching their peers a lesson in musical graverobbing. "Runaways" shows the Clientele how to make Simon and Garfunkel interesting: by adding street noise. (Who would have thought?) "It's Happening Now" beats out all Elephant 6 entries for the catchiest chorus of the year-- thus far-- because there's just the right amount of hooks and vocal inflection, but no bubblegum. And what distinguishes Art and Co. from the Lilys, of whom he was once a member, is that, as opposed to building albums around particular influences, he combines his influences on one album, and often on one song. While this means he may never make an Eccsame the Photon Band, it does make his work more consistently enjoyable than your average Lilys record. Fittingly enough, a photographed excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, "Nature," appears on the back of the album's sleeve. In explaining why he loves the woods, the transcendentalist wrote, "There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,-- no disgrace, no calamity (leaving my eyes), which nature cannot repair." The same could be said for my experience listening to Oh, the Sweet, Sweet Changes. - Ryan Kearney, Pitchfork

1. Genius
2. End of the Week
3. Could It Be?
4. Disillusion
5. Runaways
6. It's Happening Now
7. Now It's Over (And Over)
8. Saturn Returns Again
9. She Don't Need Lovin'/Snowflake in the Sky
10. Maybe in November

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