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The Souls of Inspyration

The Souls of Inspyration - The Souls of Inspyration

The Souls of Inspyration
Columbia - 1970

Michael Panontin
From Red Lake, Ontario, near the Manitoba border, these soft-psych rockers made the requisite bar slog all across Central Canada before deciding to set up shop in, of all places, Sherbrooke, Quebec sometime in late 1968. There, the Souls of Inspyration recruited keyboardist Raymond Cloutier and saw their sound morph into a murkier, more psychedelic mix. They were fortunate enough to tour Quebec with the likes of Vanilla Fudge and Tommy James and the Shondells, which must have helped to solidify their fan base right across the belle province. But the group's big break came when they won a battle-of-the-bands competition at Montreal's Man and His World exposition in July 1970, netting them a fortnight slot at the Canada Pavilion at Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan.

Awash in accolades and promise, the Souls of Inspyration inked a recording deal and cut their lone wax offering for the then-progressive Columbia Canada label (whose adventurous roster at the time boasted the likes of the Magic Bubble, Mashmakhan and It's All Meat). Peddling the same somewhat hoary riffs as their fellow Quebeckers Mashmakhan - breezy Hammond organ, airy acoustic guitar and buoyant but blinkered lyrics - The Souls of Inspyration lamentably founders more than it floats. There are pockets of potential here - 'Eyes of Nature' is blithe and spacious post-psychedelia, recalling Jerry Corbetta's brighter moments with Sugarloaf. However, much of The Souls of Inspyration - the drug-addled lyrics and limp songwriting to be specific - is best left to languish in obscurity.

This is probably for psych completists only.

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