RockFour Nationwide

[Rainbow Quartz; 2004]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: psychedelic rock
Others: The Byrds, The Cars, The Apples In Stereo, The Shins, The Zombies

With the world still mired in all manner of vacant post-Strokes retro cock rock, pristine psychedelia like this is remarkable on its own merits let alone from a band raised in a land of constant heated political and spiritual turmoil. How Israel, still a fanatically prog-rock country, could have produced a band that so well understands the true spirit of '60s psych-pop and honors it much better than the majority of groups the rest of the world is coming up with these days is beyond me. Even though their first three albums were recorded in Hebrew -- if you didn't already know RockFour was from Tel Aviv -- there is absolutely no way you'd be able to tell from their Rainbow Quartz releases... well, maybe if you read the liner but that's cheating. Their second album to see North America but the first to be recorded here, the sound of Nationwide is obviously smoother than the scratchy charm of 2001's Another Beginning. Laid down at Detroit's Ghetto Recorders, White Stripes and Mooney Suzuki producer Jim Diamond polishes the Israeli quartet's motif to include more contemporary and '80s influences but essentially keeps their baroque charm in tact. While their commandment of moods and atmospheres on Beginning echoed the power of The Byrds' Fifth Dimension, capturing the theatrics and humor, the original spark of classic psychedelia, Diamond's production pushes RockFour in a safer direction. At the same time as making them less derivative, they seem less interesting but, then again, I'm a much bigger psychedelic '60s than prog-pop '80s fan, so I leave it to you. These guys have much to teach us.

1. Honey
2. Nationwide
3. Next Monroe
4. Candlelight
5. To The End
6. Mad Routine
7. Have A Good One
8. You Said
9. Fuzzy White
10. I Can Read You Now
11. Crush On Subtitles
12. Moving Fast
13. Much More To Offer