“In The Building”

“In The Building” is the third single from Thee Sixpence, the band which evolved into Strawberry Alarm Clock. It was released on the All American label in 1966 and backed with “Hey Joe”. (Not only is that b-side’s title misspelled on the label as “Hay Joe”, but on both sides the band’s name is misspelled: “The” instead of “Thee”.)

Basically, “In The Building” is a slow-ish blues workout — but a very dark and psychedelically fuzzy one. The song is heavily laden with echo, and structured as a harsh jam on a single chord. This is very different from previous recordings by the band, which featured quick chord changes and a more frenetic pace. The musical distance between “In The Building” and its predecessors is amazing: the song is edgily claustrophobic and rife with menacing lead guitar figures. There’s a worryingly palpable feeling of abandon and bedlam.

“In The Building” doesn’t really sound like Strawberry Alarm Clock yet (for one thing, there is no spooky Mark Weitz organ), but the band is certainly getting there: this ‘building’ sounds like it’s burning down, and may be one that gets swept up in the conflagration of the Clock’s later “The World’s On Fire”. With its ominous rumble (a very, very deep fuzz bass is just discernible amidst the rubble), spellbinding voodoo groove, and violent pops of sudden color, Thee Sixpence created a real lost garage-psych classic with “In The Building”. The lumpy topography of the band’s world would never be the same again.

Appears on

45: “In The Building” b/w “Hay Joe” [sic] (All American 333) (1966)
LP: Step By Step (1998 compilation)