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The Free Design: Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love+1

Album Notes

On the Free Design's 1970 record, Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love, not much has changed with the Dedrick clan. The group's amazing vocal harmonies are still very much in evidence, the lush arrangements are still fuller than Grizzly Adams' beard, and the songs, like the cute and silly "Kije's Ouija" and the finger-snappingly groovy "Keep Off Your Frown" (which sounds like an unlikely cross between Oscar Brown, Jr. and the Zombies), are still lighthearted and fun. Most of the songs sound like they exist in the the Dedricks' own strange little world of harmony and childlike innocence; the only one that sounds influenced by the times is "I'm a Yogi," which has sitars, a mild psychedelic break, and groovy lyrics. It sounds more like Yogi Bear than the Maharishi, but then that is the charm of the Free Design. The record is filled with some of the band's best work: the bouncy, perky "Bubbles" (a song later covered by Dressy Bessy on the Powerpuff Girls soundtrack record); the sweet "Butterflies Are Free," which features the Dedrick sisters on lead vocals; the brash (for them) "That's All, People," which sounds like a lost Jimmy Webb track, with great vocal interplay among the siblings; and the strangely bossy Christmas tune "Close Your Mouth (It's Christmas)." The only track that falls short is their cover of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," which is the rare Free Design effort that sounds like run-of-the-mill elevator music. Pretty much any Free Design recording is going to be a treasure for fans of intelligent, witty, and above all, sophisticated sunshine pop. Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love is no exception. ~ Tim Sendra



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