San Ul Lim – The Second

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SPECIAL OFFER! Yikes, this is great joy. Not so long ago I wrote a review on the reissue of their 1977 debut album and here we go with its successor from 1978. What this Korean garage / psyche rockers have created here is still more related to the music that has been played and celebrated mostly in the USA during the second half of the 60s. In a year where disco, punk and early heavy metal ruled, this flowery and trippy pop sound with fuzzed out guitars on flashing rhythms might have been outdated already despite the fact that the original US garage sound had a renaissance among collectors not long before and compilations like “Pebbles” were in high demand among new fans of this genre. One may doubt that these hunters for vinyl treasures even made the slightest effort to take a look towards Eastern Asia where SAN UL LIM came up with exactly that type of music. If they had sung in proper English, folks, people could have told me they were from California and this album was released in 1966 or 1967 at latest. They have a sense for pop melodies and beyond that for soulful ballads with heart warming melodies. Nice and sleazy organ sounds (Farfisa, not Hammond) add more color to the rather simply structured, yet effectively striking tracks and when the fuzz sets in even slower tunes start to turn into simmering maelstroms of utterly checkered harmonies. This is for sure not the only direction SAN UL LIM take on their second album. Some folky singer / songwriter elements have slipped inside their song selection and definitely remind you of a warm summer weekend in August 1969 when 500.000 gathered for the most important music event ever at Yasgur’s farm. Despite having chosen this rather straight direction for their music SAN UL LIM consisted of skilled musicians who execute their compositions with an obsessive feel and still with an iron discipline. The band had matured ever since the release of their debut album “Vol. 1” the previous year and you can hear this from the more excessive and obsessive playing, the increased rawness of the guitar fuzz and the slightly deeper, more thought provoking and sometimes even more aggressive melodies which digressed from the pure feel good pop music. What you get here is a delightful mixture of what was awesome at Western shores in 1966/67 and despite being a bit late SAN UL LIM still have the balls to shed the fire of passion in a way THE SEEDS, THE DOORS, THE STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK, THE ANIMALS, THE SHADOWS OF KNIGHT and even Nick Drake, Roy Harper and Bert Jansch did it a decade and even longer ago. Retro garage sound with style and soul, who could resist that?