30 Seconds Before The Calico Wall AA-050

By Matthias Bock 1996
This compilation was designed by the people at Arf!Arf! as a companion and predecessor volume of Voxx Record's "Beyond the Calico Wall". In fact, Erik Lindgren elaborates on this in the liners, where he states his intent to "carry you...across familiar territory...towards an uncharted destination - the Calico Wall".

This is just the impression you get when you hear this album (if you've heard "Beyond..." beforehand) - good stuff. There's many a thing of beauty buried in this CD, although it lacks the sheer weirdness of its sister volume. In other words - this is a compilation you can play to people you don't want to scare away from this kind of music. Some of the tunes are a little bit spaced out musically, but there's nothing as drastic as, say, "Too much to dream", or "Changes", which you find on "Beyond...".

Overall, I would say the music is neither strictly garage nor strictly psychedelic, you will find rather much music of both categories here. The CD comes with a 16-page booklet containing some bit of info or trivia on each of the tracks. Considering the fact that almost all of the bands here are virtually unknown, Arf!Arf! did a good job finding information.

Like many compilations featuring extremely rare stuff, there is one drawback to note: Only two of the tracks have been taken from master tapes, one other track comes from a "barely surviving acetate" while the rest has been taken from original 45s. If you fear that the sound quality is unbearable, I can assure you that the guys at Arf!Arf! have used singles in (near) mint condition. Thinking again of the rarity of the singles in here, I think they (or others) couldn't have made it much better!

This album a good buy for all of those folks who have heard their share of garage style music before - this album surely is an aquired taste, but it is one of the best currently available for all those who have loved the Pebbles series, or any other such compilation.

You will also be surprised by the great number of tracks that have not been on other samplers before. Although I have access to more than 100 compilations, I have found only five of the 28 tracks elsewhere. Please take a look into the track listing provided below, I'm certain you won't find many familiar tunes!

Rating: ***** (out of *****)

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