Sep 30, 2011
TWICE AS MUCH - OWN UP + THATS ALL (IMMEDIATE 1966 & 1968) JVC K2 mastering cardboard sleeves + 2 bonus
One of the most anonymous-sounding acts of the British Invasion, Twice as Much was the duo of Dave Skinner and Andrew Rose, harmony singers who also wrote much of their own material. Signed to the Immediate label (run by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham), the pair recorded several singles and a couple of albums between 1966 and 1968. Most of these recordings were innocuous, pleasantly forgettable pop affairs in the Peter & Gordon/Chad & Jeremy mold, with light orchestral pop/rock arrangements that sometimes employed a touch of the Baroque. They had their only British Top 40 success with a cover of the Stones' "Sitting on a Fence"; although the Stones' version was one of their best cuts from the Between the Buttons era.
Twice as Much's debut album was an odd exercise in twee pop-Baroque production, very typical of producer Andrew Oldham's ornate, sometimes over-the-top grandiosity. The LP was evenly divided between group originals and covers of hits by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Small Faces. There was also the Spector-Goffin-King composition "Is This What I Get for Loving You Baby?" and "I Have a Love," both of which, coincidentally or not, were done in the mid-'60s by another one-time Oldham client, Marianne Faithfull. The originals, interestingly, were better, though hardly great. David Skinner and Andrew Rose were pleasant, though unexceptional, harmony singers, and played out their introverted, somewhat sad pop/ballads against orchestral production with heavy debts to the mid-'60s Beach Boys and California sunshine pop. "Life Is But Nothing" would be covered to good effect by Del Shannon on another Oldham production, and "Why Can't They All Go and Leave Me Alone?," in which the introversion slides into solipsism, is a notable obscure exercise in crashing, epic symphonic pop/rock. The covers do the originals no favors, emasculating classics like "Help" and "Sha La La La La Lee" into fey pop ballads suitable for upper-class parlors. Incidentally, there's a true all-star supporting cast on this record. The session musicians include guitarists Jimmy Page, John McLaughlin, Joe Moretti, and Big Jim Sullivan; drummer Andy White; keyboardists Nicky Hopkins and Art Greenslade (the latter of whom did the arrangements), and engineer Glyn Johns.
Twice as Much never got much more than a couple of dismissive comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel (to whom there's admittedly a slight vocal resemblance, although the U.K. duo's brand of lush psych-pop owes little to the New Yorkers' folk-rock roots) and a footnote in pop history for covering a Rolling Stones song on their first Immediate single ("Sitting on a Fence," the country-tinged opener here). This is a shame, because the vocal blend of Dave Skinner and Andrew Rose is simply gorgeous, and they were a dab hand as songwriters as well. Nothing on That's All is up to the level of "Night Time Girl," the album track from the debut, Own Up, that's among the loveliest songs of the entire psych-pop era, but this album is much more consistent than the patchy debut. Soft and gentle, along the lines of Chad and Jeremy's Of Cabbages and Kings, or perhaps Curt Boettcher's work, the album includes gems like a pair of Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane rarities, "Hey Girl" and the trippy "Green Circles," a dreamy take on the Dionne Warwick classic "You'll Never Get to Heaven," and an inspired medley of the ghostly original "Life Is But Nothing," with an oddly resigned version of Bobby Freeman's "Do You Wanna Dance." That's All is second-string work to be sure, but it's certainly of interest to all sunshine pop and lite-psych fans. [allmusic]