Bizarrely named studio bunch worshipping at the feet of Brian Wilson
Year of Release: 1968
While Brian Wilson's talent caused jaws to drop globally when "Pet Sounds" was closely followed by "Good Vibrations", it left the groups who admired him most somewhat snookered. Those who loved The Beatles could put their own spin on the moptop sound without seeming like total clones (though admittedly The Knickerbockers seemed happy to ape their style with very few embellishments). The Beach Boys, though? How can you sound like a 'psychedelic barbershop quartet', as Hendrix put it, in your own way? Wilson not only developed but essentially owned that template.
This is exactly where the ridiculously named Giant Jellybean Copout came unstuck. "Awake In A Dream" is essentially The Beach Boys during their "Good Vibrations"/ "Smile" phase on a much lower budget. It's a very astute imitation, to be fair, and the tremendously psychedelic "lucid dreaming" lyrics and perfect close harmony vocals combine with a meandering structure to create something that must have been a satisfying listen for Wilson fans hungry for the delayed "Smile" LP.
As the group's name might suggest, there's more than a bit of sickly sweet bubblegum running through the core of this record too, but it's syrupy pop with a rather confusing and conflicting aftertaste.
The main man behind this group was Jim Ryan of The Critters, who is probably best known in the UK for his minor hit "Younger Girl". It's a thing of pure sunshine loveliness which probably doesn't get played much these days due to the fact the lyrics seem slightly paedo-friendly if you're the cynical type. If you hear it as what I suspect it's supposed to be, though - a dreamy song for teenagers about the girl two forms below - it's a thing of beauty.
Ryan eventually went on to become Carly Simon's touring guitarist, before becoming a studio based session musician.