Each week, we take a retrospective look on albums which we think are either criminally underrated or woefully overrated, and why they actually rock/suck.
Easter Everywhere, the 1967 follow-up to the 13th Floor Elevators classic debut Psychedelic Sounds, is often overlooked – perhaps because it doesn’t contain any immediate classics akin to ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’. What it does contain, however, is 10 songs more musically varied and even more forward thinking than its predecessor. The opener, ‘Slip Inside This House’, is an 8-minute long garage-rock acid trip with Roky Erickson’s mind-altering lyrics sprawling across religion, the psyche and everything in between. It’s all punctuated with Tommy Hall’s compellingly eerie electric jug playing. These two components are the very essence of the band, meaning even more straightforward rockers like ‘She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)’ and ‘(I’ve Got) Levitation’ feel heavily psychedelic and utterly unique.
What makes the album even more intelligent is how the group avoids pigeon-holing themselves into their own niche – something that (retrospectively of course) constrained their first album. ‘Dust’ and their take on Bob Dylan’s ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ are both calm and incredibly moving, with the latter possibly being one of the best cover versions, ever. ‘Nobody to Love’ does a better job of showcasing Stacy Sutherland’s guitar playing ability than anything on Psychedelic Sounds, and ‘I Had to Tell You’ provides a moment of real clear-headed clarity, with Erickson earnestly stating “If you fear I’ll lose my spirits, like a drunkard’s wasted wine, don’t you even think about it, I’m feeling fine”. In contrast, final track, ‘Postures (Leave Your Body Behind)’ is just as trippy as the opener, although Erickson’s calls of ‘Leave! Leave your body behind’ seem like a poignant foreshadowing of his own mental health issues – a troubled man trying to escape from himself.
If the group’s debut album earned its acclaim for its inventiveness then Easter Everywhere should be held in equal status, if not more. It’s a perfect example of how to build on the strengths of previous work, and one of the perfect works of the whole psychedelic movement.
Open your third eye and click here to listen to the album yourself.