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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 78 - 02/16/03

The Jessica Fletchers
What happened to the?
Perfect Pop Records

After a debut album of ups and downs followed by two EPs of mainly ups, we know what to expect from the Fletchers: 60s beat, roll and pop flavoured by heroes such as the Beatles, Kinks and Byrds. This second longplayer really made me realise how exciting these bands' songs of their psychedelic eras were, compared to earlier works. I'm not sure if it has to do with the presentation/production or the less obvious structures of these songs; probably both. What happened to the? spans the entire decade. Several songs sound like they originate from around 1963-65. "Let's go" is the next-door neighbour to the Kinks' "You Really Got Me", whereas "Beatbox" is an early Lennon rocker with a Farfisa organ thrown in for good measure. The guitarplaying throughout the album is superb, but although "Early Monday" has a long and lingering ending and "Nextyear" and "I got news" include sitars, it's not quite enough. These tracks sound too basic for my liking and leave me restless to some extent.

"Bloody Seventies Love" moves into groovier landscapes although half the song is as basic beat as the aforementioned. The other half is slower, dominated by a stunning backward drone'ish guitar, trumpet (!) and phased vocals. Pure psychedelic delight! "Shoot" is the gem of the album. A slow relaxed psychedelic ballad up there with Lennon at his very best around 1966-67. Electric piano, eclectic cello, mellotrons, harmonies... beautiful! Check out the Beatles' "Across The Universe" (the 1967-version for World Wildlife Fund, mind you!) and you'll know what we're talking about.

"Do You Know What She Hides?" and "Sick Of The Action" is the classic - meaning timeless - songs of the album, maybe more American flavoured than the rest. The latter is dynamic as hell, driven forward by a burning organ, whereas the former tastes of tex-mex; trumpet must be an underestimated instrument of rock'n'roll! Last but not least "You Can Have Japan" (first we take Manhattan, or what?) brings back happy memories of the relaxed playfulness of "Houses Burning Down" off Jessica Fletchers' splendid Sorry About The Noise EP. A worthy ending to a playful album. Although I could have wished that half the songs were pushed forward to the latter half of the 60s, What happened to the? is rock solid throughout. The relatively young quintet certainly knows the 60s catalogue and manages to recreate the moods in a better way than most of the artists who actually were there. You may order the disc online from Perfect Pop.

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You may also want to check out our Jessica Fletchers articles/reviews: (Come On) It's Only Nine (EP), Sorry About The Noise, You Spider.

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