Anything Goes

by: Harpers Bizarre

It's not easy to figure what Harpers Bizarre had in mind with their second album, which was highly orchestrated soft rock on the verge of pre-rock pop. Rock for the kiddies, perhaps, or rock for the old folks, especially considering that a few of these tunes (Cole Porter's "Two Little Babes in the Woods," "Chattanooga Choo Choo") were pre-rock standards. It gave producer Lenny Waronker (and Harpers Bizarre member Ted Templeman, who became a producer himself and helped with the vocal arrangements) some experience, but it's way too twee to make for meaningful music. Perhaps you can hear a wee bit of the kind of L.A. pop/rock-schmaltz dished out by Randy Newman (whom Waronker would produce), Nilsson, and Van Dyke Parks at times, but in a much dumbed-down fashion. There are some interesting cover choices, though: David Blue's "You Need a Change" (arranged by Ron Elliott of the Beau Brummels), Parks' "High Coin," and Newman's "The Biggest Night of Her Life" and "Snow," which must have generated enough royalties to feed the parking meter for a few hours. ~ Richie Unterberger

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