The Raspberries

Refreshed (Legendstar)

Between 1970 and 1975, the Raspberries released four albums on Capitol Records that yielded several hits and cast the group into the national spotlight. The Raspberries combined elements of the Beatles, the Who, and the Beach Boys, but their career was short-lived, and internal strife -- particularly between the two main songwriters, Wally Bryson and Eric Carmen -- resulted in the band's premature dissolution. Fueled by a Bryson cameo on Carmen's recent solo album, I Was Born to Love You, rumors of a Raspberries reunion have been circulating for several months, but this six-song CD isn't the reunion you've been waiting for. Founder Bryson is accompanied by onetime Raspberries Dave Smalley and Scott McCarl, but Carmen isn't involved, and his absence makes this version of the band decidedly incomplete.

Given the sentimental nature of these songs, Refreshed is hardly a proper follow-up to Fresh, the group's 1972 debut. Written by McCarl, the opening track, "Would You Say Yes Again?" reeks of nostalgia for a time when cheesy songs about wedding proposals mattered. "Love in My Eyes," another track by McCarl that's filled with images of romantic love, also sounds dated. Its weeping guitars and four-part harmonies give an obvious nod to the Beatles, and the cooing background vocals and gutless guitar lead don't help matters. Written in response to a fan who wrote the band an angry e-mail because she felt they were leading her on with rumors of reunion, "Pop Teasers" has more bite, and with the line "the rock and roll belongs to the kids," the Bryson-penned "Rock 'n' Roll Kids" expresses an irony that's apparently lost on the band.