The jewel in the Beau Brummels’ crown, Triangle was an unexpected departure from the band’s earlier hit-making formula — and demonstrated Ron Elliott’s growing maturation as a songwriter. All the band’s signature styles (folk, country swing, and Brit-pop) are still heard in the mix, but the tunes here assume an added aura of mysticism. Buried commercially by the likes of Sgt. Pepper, Triangle shared its premise of songs loosely united by a common theme — in this case, a ruminative dream cycle (though to call Triangle a concept album might be overstating the case). The exquisite “Magic Hollow,” graced by Van Dyke Parks’ delicate harpsichord, was surely the LP’s highlight. Plucked as a single, it barely dented the charts, yet remains one of the most beautiful tunes in the entire Brummels canon. The album’s first five songs — “Are You Happy,” “Only Dreaming Now,” “Painter of Women,” “Keeper of Time,” and “It Won’t Get Better” — form a surprisingly coherent and cohesive whole despite marked differences. “Dreaming”‘s accordion transports the listener to Paris’ Montmartre, while “Painter” suggests the shifting sands of the Middle East. Elliott’s lyric imagery in these tunes and a third track — “The Wolf of Velvet Fortune” — is particularly striking, and Sal Valentino’s richly expressive voice elevates all three to sublime heights. Too long ignored by rock cognoscenti, Triangle is (all hyperbole aside) a fine album which deserves to be heard by a wider audience.
-Stansted Montfichet, allmusic.com
The Beau Brummels-TRIANGLE (1967)