A heady and adventurous experience with ever-shifting elements of jazz, fuzz guitar, blues rock and psychedelia!
Graffiti’s origins can be traced back to 1967 and the dissolution of The Hangmen, a popular Washington DC area garage rock act well noted for the proto-punk stylings of their singles “What A Girl Can’t Do” and “Faces.” Singer Tony Taylor, a late addition to the band’s lineup, recruited guitarist George Strunz to the group and soon announced the band would pursue a more psychedelic direction. It didn’t take long for Graffiti to attract label attention, and by August of 1968 the band signed to ABC Records and released their debut single, “He’s Got The Knack.” In November of 1968 they released their one and only album.
The juxtaposition between Graffiti’s smooth vocal harmonies and their intricate songwriting is stark. One moment the group is immersed in all of the feel-good pop songwriting tropes of the era, oftentimes quite reminiscent of acts like The Association and The Mamas & The Papas. Meanwhile, the next moment sees the band vamping into extended passages, odd chord sequencing, and off beat time signatures, highlighted by Strunz’s frequent fuzz laced soloing and the energetic drumming of Richie Blakin.
The legacy of Graffiti’s self-titled debut was seemingly hampered by the fact that that it is often lumped in with the plethora of other one-and-done psych releases of the time, an era in which major labels were falling over one another in an attempt to capitalize on the psychedelic sounds popularized by the Summer of Love. This is unfortunate because Graffiti’s approach to songwriting and blending together of jazz, classical, and rock elements are rather groundbreaking, precursors to the arrival of progressive rock - proto-prog pioneers, if you will.
Also available on coke clear vinyl!
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