Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The Millennium's Begin can truly be described as a bona fide lost classic. The brainchild of producers Curt Boettcher and Gary Usher, the group was formed out of the remnants of their previous studio project, Sagittarius, which was preceded by yet another aggregation, the Ballroom. On Begin, hard rock, breezy ballads, and psychedelia all merge into an absolutely air-tight concept album, easily on the level of other, more widely popular albums from the era such as The Notorious Byrd Brothers, which share not only Usher's production skills, but similarities in concept and construction. The songwriting, mostly by Joey Stec and Curt Boettcher, is sterling and innovative, never straying into the type of psychedelic overindulgence which marred so many records from this era. For example, "It's You," by Stec, is as powerful and fully realized as the era ever produced, easily on par with songs by the Beach Boys and the Byrds -- and, yes, even the Beatles. At the time the most expensive album Columbia ever produced (and it sounds like it), Begin is an absolute necessity for any fan of late-'60s psychedelia and a wonderful rediscovery that sounds as vital today as it did the day it was released.