The Ladybug Transistor - The Albemarle Sound

The Ladybug Transistor
The Albemarle Sound

I first listened to this record on a spring day when all the cherry blossoms were in bloom throughout Berkeley. It’s a beautiful, whimsical record that imagines Sergeant Pepper’s era Beatles painting Brian Wilson’s lush soundscapes. The band has added more members since Beverly Anatole, it’s last record, and the sound is even richer. The Ladybug Transistor pour equal parts piano, flute, vocal harmonies, clarinet, mandolin, trumpet, 12 string guitar and big, parade-like bass drum thuds into a tall pitcher, they mix with ice and invite the listener to sit back and drink it on the porch.

It’s not quite psychedelic, but similar to post-psychedelia AM radio transistor songs that soundtracked neighborhood pools in the early 70s. The Albemarle Sound has more in common with the Mama and the Papas and the Association than with Hendrix or Cream.