Kaleidoscope were an English psychedelic and progressive rock group that existed from 1967 to 1969. Having performed since 1964 under the name The Sidekicks, they became The Key in November 1965, before settling upon the name Kaleidoscope when they signed a deal with Fontana Records in January 1967. The group consisted of Peter Daltrey (vocals, keyboards), Eddy Pumer (guitars), Steve Clark (bass, flute), and Dan Bridgman (drums). While the group did not achieve commercial success in its time, it retains a loyal fanbase and its recordings are remembered in high regard.
The band released two albums, Tangerine Dream in 1967 and Faintly Blowing in 1969. As the group moved further into progressive rock, and to avoid confusion with the American group Kaleidoscope, they renamed themselves yet again to Fairfield Parlour in 1969 and switched to the Vertigo label. The transformation saw no lineup changes. Under this name, they recorded and released From Home to Home in 1970. The last LP by the group was White Faced Lady, a rock opera recorded in 1971. It was shelved until 1991, when it was released under the band's original name Kaleidoscope.
All tracks released by the band are Daltrey/Pumer compositions.
Kaledioscope's debut album, Tangerine Dream, was a trippy but mostly whimsical effort, more Magical Mystery Tour than Piper At the Gates of Dawn. However, with their second album, Faintly Blowing, they showed that their sound was evolving in a more experimental direction. Indeed, the realms of psychedelia and in turn progressive rock were about to be open for full throttle exploration.
Faintly Blowing contains music that openly cites the influences of the day, from the Beatles to the Bee Gees to Pink Floyd. However, what sets Kaleidoscope apart is how they are able to take what may sound familiar yet make it all their own. There are also happen to be some really great tracks on the album such as "Faintly Blowing", "A Love Song for Annie", "If You So Wish", "Snapdragon", and "Bless the Executioner". The quality writing of Peter Daltrey is apparent, and his gift of melody is complimented by great arranging and performing.
Eddie Pumer's guitar work is incredible. As a result it is difficult to find a lackluster track. However, the real gem of Faintly Blowing is the lengthy "Music", which takes the listener from mind expansion to mind explosion. It is a heavy track with what seems like every psychedelic production techinique in the book, from heavy phasing and panning to the heavy use of tape loops. This tune is a far cry from "Jenny Artichoke" from Tangerine Dream sessions.
Kaleidoscope is one of those all too underappreciated bands whose mention seems to always pit them in the shadow of more recognizable bands of their genre and era, British psychedelic music during the late 60's. That's a real shame because they deserve better. Any discussion of British psychedelic music from the 60's will inevitably turn to the Big Three: Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, and Tomorrow. However, as shown with Faintly Blowing, Kaleidoscope turned in mind-expanding music worthy of the Big Three becoming the Big Four. [progarchives.com]
01. Faintly Blowing 02. Poem 03. Snapdragon 04. A Story From Tom Bitz 05. (Love Song) For Annie 06. If you so wish 07. Opinion 08. Bless The Executioner 09. Black Fjord 10. The Feathered Tiger 11. I'll kiss you once 12. Music + Bonus Tracks