Sometimes I love the Spotify “discover” page, and today is one of those days, as The Ark by Chad and Jeremy has found it’s way to my ears. I decided to give it a go, purely on the strength of the surreal cover art, and to my surprise I was greeted to some of the most idiosyncratic psychedelic music I’ve yet encountered. I really enjoyed the album! The writing is consistently inspired, the production smooth and easy on the ears and the arrangements are suitably avant garde and baroque. There’s softly piping woodwinds, buzzing harpsichords and organs, imaginative percussion carefully woven into a somewhat folksy R&B feel. In short it’s fantastic and I can’t believe I’ve only just discovered it.
In many ways, it’s little wonder The Ark it sounds so good. According to the group’s Spotify bio, the project was so expensive that it caused Columbia records to terminate producer Gary Usher’s contract. That costly production is apparent in the extended arrangements and polished sound. Things that no doubt required a lot of sessions and mixing time.
Chad and Jeremy
I’d never heard of this somewhat obscure 1960’s folk rock act. They appear to have been part of the British Invasion, so much so that they relocated to the USA and even applied for citizenship. As with many of their contemporaries in the British Invasion, their late sixties output apparently took a psychedelic turn, giving rise to Of Cabbages and Kings and The Ark. Both of these progressive psychedelic albums did not fare well commercially, and Chad and Jeremy subsequently ceased to exist as a coherent entity after The Ark.
If you’re looking for something a bit different and off the beaten path of typical sixties rock, I thoroughly recommend giving this album a listen. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.