“Shallow Impressions” is the last track on Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s 1968 album The World In A Sea Shell. It is an experimental instrumental (the only song without vocals on the album, and the first such song by the Clock since “Pass Time With The SAC” from the 1967 LP Incense And Peppermints. It was written by the band’s legendary keyboard player, Mark Weitz.
Beginning with some wind-like studio effects, “Shallow Impressions” is a bouncy song with constant dark undercurrents throughout, and a bold arrangement that sees an eclectic mix of instruments appearing and quickly disappearing. Piano, drums, a washboard, a stinging electric (sometimes wah-wah) guitar, harpsichord, what sounds like a toy xylophone, and bongos all get to take turns in the spotlight. Each instrument is present to serve the song, however; there is less a sense of showing off and eclecticism-for-its-own-sake than the band might’ve succumbed to on past albums. Such focus suggests a new maturity on the part of the band members. “Shallow Impressions” is quite unlike anything else on The World In A Sea Shell, and shows the band still eager to take chances with instrumentation and song structure. In a word, Strawberry Alarm Clock was still growing.
After rolling along for a little while, “Shallow Impressions” ends with a reprise of the spooky wind sounds that started it. The song is a great ending to a controversial album, and for all its faults, this third LP from Strawberry Alarm Clock shows its greatest promise here on its final performance, giving hope for the future and leaving one eager to hear what the band would cook up for its fourth and final album, Good Morning Starshine.
LP: The World In A Sea Shell (1969)