Pay attention here, because although this release contains a lot of material by the Millennium, it’s not exactly a Millennium album and not exactly an expanded edition of the Begin album, although everything from that record is here. This three-CD package is really a roundup of numerous Curt Boettcher-affiliated recordings from 1965-68, focusing mostly on tracks by the Millennium and his prior band, the Ballroom. Disc three is all Millennium, featuring not only the Begin album, but the unreleased “Blight”/”Just About the Same” single that was added to the 1990 Begin reissue, and the single versions of “It’s You,” “I Just Want to Be Your Friend,” “5 A.M.,” “Prelude,” “To Claudia on Thursday,” and “There Is Nothing More to Say.”
Begin, very much a group project, although Boettcher was the most important member, remains an impressive pinnacle of sunshine psychedelic pop, though the chipper songs are not as substantial as the florid, multi-hued and multi-textured production and harmonies. Disc two has the original versions, as done by the Ballroom, of three songs that would be redone on the Millennium’s Begin album (“5 A.M.,” “Karmic Dream Sequence #1,” “The Island”). There’s lot’s more on this anthology, though, including the scarce 1967 Warner Bros. single by the Ballroom that represented their sole release; an entire album’s worth of stuff, unreleased at the time, done by the Ballroom in late 1966; yet more unreleased Ballroom songs and instrumental backing tracks; and odds and ends from other projects Boettcher worked on in the mid- to late ’60s, including solo cuts, a duet with Dottie Holmberg, the 1965 single by Summer’s Children (a male-female duo he was in), and a couple of items by Sagittarius. The Ballroom tracks, and most of the other non-Millennium cuts, are inventive but fluffy sunshine pop, with intricate, multi-layered helium-high harmonies, and lyrics that often dive into a never-never land of psych-pop romance. In general, they’re more lightweight than the Millennium record, so those new to Boettcher’s work should start with Begin itself before deciding whether to take such a deep plunge. For someone heavily into the Boettcher clan, though, it’s a valuable archive release, with a thorough 24-page booklet.
-Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com