Pretty Things* ‎– Silk Torpedo

Label:
Swan Song ‎– SS 8411
Format:
Vinyl, LP, Album
Country:
Released:
Genre:
Style:

Tracklist

A1 Dream 1:08
A2 Joey 5:35
A3 Maybe You Tried 4:19
A4 Atlanta 2:42
A5 L.A.N.T.A. 2:23
A6 Is It Only Love 5:04
B1 Come Home Momma 3:32
B2 Bridge Of God 5:01
B3 Singapore Silk Torpedo 5:11
B4 Belfast Cowboys 5:10
B5 Bruise In The Sky 1:50

Companies, etc.

Notes

Came with gatefold sleeve and lyrics-insert

ST-SS-743252RI (on labels under tracks)

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (A Side label): ST-SS-743251RI
  • Matrix / Runout (B Side label): ST-SS-743252RI
  • Matrix / Runout (A Side runout): ST-SS 7432 5113BB-1 PORKY PR
  • Matrix / Runout (B Side runout): ST-SS-7432 5213BB-1-11 PECKO PR

Other Versions (5 of 23) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
SS 8411 Pretty Things* Silk Torpedo(LP, Album) Swan Song SS 8411 Canada 1974 Sell This Version
SSK 59400, SSK59400 Pretty Things* Silk Torpedo(LP, Album) Swan Song, Swan Song SSK 59400, SSK59400 UK 1974 Sell This Version
POCE 1005 The Pretty Things Silk Torpedo(CD, Album, Car) Strange Days Records POCE 1005 Japan 2006 Sell This Version
SMMCD 559, 155592 Pretty Things* Silk Torpedo(CD, Album, RE) Original Masters, Snapper Music SMMCD 559, 155592 Germany 1998 Sell This Version
SS 8411 The Pretty Things Silk Torpedo(LP, Album) Swan Song SS 8411 New Zealand 1975 Sell This Version

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streetmouse

streetmouse

May 8, 2017
edited about 1 year ago

This is another attempt to encompass an entire catalog in one review, certainly not an easy task, and perhaps not fair to the band.  Those thoughts aside, after due consideration, I feel that these words are an adequate overview for this band who have outlasted nearly every other group who rose out of the psychedelic haze of the 1960s.

I came to Pretty Things late, with their 1974 release of Silk Torpedo, and yes, it was all due to the splendid artwork, of which little is known.  I also wanted to like this band because a best friend was totally into the group.  I suppose it makes me shallow, nevertheless, their 1968 release S.F. Sorrow, which was probably the first official rock opera, with Pete Townsend citing it as the foundation for Tommy, and with David Bowie so enamored by the band that he included both “Rosalyn” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” from their catalog for his 1973 album Pin Ups, though due to the artwork which contained a [small ‘c’] christian cross as part of the artwork of S.F. Sorrow, I let Pretty Things slide by me.

I listened to Silk Torpedoes many times, but their sound never resonated with me, it was never pleasing to my ears, and the lyrics never captured my imagination.  I’ve been told, and I’m not a 45 rpm gal for the most part, that if I were to go back to their beginning, and immerse myself into the singles from when they went by the alias The Electric Banana, and followed through with their other singles, that I would find Pretty Things irresistible … yet to my way of thinking, that made about as much sense as judging King Crimson on the basis of a single track taken out of context, because Pretty Things were a progressive rock band, and if not progressive, certainly created within the realm of themed construction.  Though perhaps it was because Silk Torpedoes chose a mixture of The Beatles and early Pink Floyd to define them [an odd melding at best], and that’s the reason their music did not crystalize with me.

Yes, I certainly can hear and appreciated the dense harmonic psych of “Scene One,” and the chord progression that’s laced with a haunting plaintiveness on “In The Square.”  On “Cries From The Midnight Circus” it becomes evident as to why members of Led Zeppelin found the band so enchanting with their multi part harmonies and sonic layering, yet even with the line delivered by David Bowie “Oh you pretty things, you know you’re driving your mamas and papas insane …” was in fact a shaded coded message to both Pretty Things, and the Mamas and Papas, who represented all those embraced by the psychedelic 60’s, and left Pretty Things standing in the wings, forever appreciated by those in the know, but not by the record buying public.  Then it comes to the song “What’s The Use,” with its Roger McGuinn infused twelve string guitar, or the raw power appreciated by Iggy Pop, along with the sweetness of The Electric Light Orchestra, with “Parachute,” sounding as if it could have been lifted from the cutting room floor of The Beatles, emitting elements of both “Goodnight,” from Abbey Road, and “Sun King” from the White Album.  While others relish in this splendor, all I get is the sense of a warm cup of hot chocolate that has not been stirred well enough, and all I’m getting is bits and pieces rather than a conceptual whole.  However, perhaps I’m not quiet to blame for these feelings of juxtaposition, as by the time of this release, the band had had something in the neighborhood of 14 members move in and out and back into the band [and over 28 during their entire career as a rock n’ roll outfit] … meaning that the influences were far too diverse and far too encompassing for Pretty Things to have a central formula and creative center to both guide and drive them onward.

Yes, I realize that none of the songs I've mentioned are part of the Silk Torpedo release, and my reason for mentioning them is due to the fact that those songs seem to best represent what Pretty Things were about, and the road they were attempting to travel.  That being said, none of their albums ever were able measure up to those concepts, and I'm not left the only one feeling this way, as their chart ratings have never been very high, leaving them to be on of those bands who's material is best combed through, the songs that resinate best to be kept, letting the rest fall to the wayside.  I'm not saying that there are not bright moments on this album, it's simply that I never felt compelled, or found it necessary to labor my musical library with material that I will never listen to.

So there I sat sideways, legs dangling over the arms of an overstuffed chair in 1974 wearing toe-socks, shorts, and a Doobie Brothers tee-shirt picking seeds out of frisbee full of pot, saying to my dear friend while glueing two Bamboo rolling papers together, “Put on Silk Torpedo” … but even the weed didn’t help.

*** The Fun Facts:  The Pretty Things took their name from the Bo Diddley song “Pretty Thing,” written by Willie Dixon in 1955.

A  ‘Silk Torpedo’ has the sexual reference of being a penis shrouded in a condom, with a Singapore Silk Torpedo being a Naval reference to the elegant mystic silky smooth, almost breathable condoms created by the Japanese, and highly sought after by sailors on leave, though they were as factual as Spanish Fly.  

The album cover by Hipgnosis, features a pinup girl decked out in pseudo sailor suit complete with a silk tie riding a torpedo ah-la “Dr. Strangelove,” with a sailor waving her bon voyage from a World War II PT Boat.

Review by Jenell Kesler