Branching out as a solo artist under the band name Solaram, Joe Tagg writes songs that hearken back to the days of psychedelia a la Brian Jonestown Massacre and like-minded outfits. The album Love & The Sweet Divine has an easygoing vibe to it, with plenty of sustained organ and acoustic guitar and tambourine, but it does occasionally break into Byrds-like guitarisms in the bridges.
Released on the Rainbow Quartz label, it’s no surprise that the album dips its toe into the psychedelia pool. It’s melodic and trippy and retro, with the odd modern-era update to remind you that’s it’s not 1969 anymore. If “Precious Time” sounds like an ode to slackerdom, about drinking wine and passing idle time hanging around, it’s perfectly fitting with the kind of back-porch, casual attitude that permeates the album. The singing is unfailingly relaxed on this and the other songs. The languid tempo and playing on “I Wonder” induces you to go back to bed and pull up the covers: it’s either the best or worst thing to listen to if you’re having trouble getting on with your day.
While most of the guitar playing sounds pretty standard for this kind of music, the pretty acoustic picking on instrumental “Fur C-Ann” breaks out by breaking it all down. And the opening “When She Falls” has the most obviously dated feel in just the opposite direction. With the bright, trebly electric guitar laying down a Byrds/Crenshaw line and with Tagg singing about girls and love, the cut is indistinguishable from the paisley redux that last came to us in force with the Three O’Clock and Rain Parade. As the album opener, it’s a fine choice even if it does set the bar a little too high for the rest of the tracks, which sometimes come close but never match its combination of charm and catchiness.