4 out of 5 Stars!
Back in 1970, when the band’s big breakthrough song “Radar Love” wouldn’t even be on the “radar” (sorry, couldn’t resist) for several more years, Golden Earring released a self-titled album (its sixth studio collection overall, I believe), also nicknamed “The Wall of Dolls” based on a song title as well as the bizarre cover art background.
Regardless, this ended up being my favorite period of the band’s lengthy history, before it hit the (relative) “big time” and the albums started sounding a bit overproduced.
Here, the more stripped-down style and the occasionally “darker” atmosphere on tracks such as “I’m Going to Send My Pigeons to the Sky,” “The Loner,” “Back Home,” the mellower “See See,” and the aforementioned “The Wall of Dolls” (which strongly reminds me of The Guess Who, thanks to the instrumentation featuring electric piano and singer Barry Hay’s gruff performance) gives Golden Earring a rough and youthful edge. The mostly guitar-driven, Blues-based Hard Rock with a touch of Psychedelic Rock, even Prog-Rock ala Jethro Tull (thanks to the trickier song arrangements and the inclusion of flute mixed with acoustic and electric guitar on “Yellow and Blue” and “Big Tree, Blue Sea”), along with a hungry, almost rebellious “punk” attitude, especially from vocalist Hay, pervaded the vinyl grooves and proved both entertaining and enchanting.
Thankfully, Golden Earring continued on with this particular style/attitude for two additional albums, 1971’s Seven Tears and 1972’s Together, which I also continue to enjoy on a regular basis. And with the arrival of drummer Cesar Zuiderwijk, this album is the first to feature Golden Earring’s classic and endurable line-up of musicians, which not only makes it a definite milestone, but also marks the beginning of the band’s most satisfying era to my ears.