Before the close of 2018, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pearls Before Swine's quintessential psychedelic folk album Balaklava with a restored reissue of the original material (December 14th, to those who've yet to mark their calendars). Given the nature of the album and the times we live in, it's an anniversary well worth observing.
The message writ between the leaves of Balaklava - WAR NO MORE - is elegantly inscribed, conveyed with a few passing lyrical references. Tom Rapp's use of allegory and literary reference focuses the listener on the transcendent nature of love and pastoral beauty in the world, setting Balaklava apart from much of other protest music from the Vietnam era by dwelling as much on what isn't said as what is. "I Saw the World" is a stunning example of this concept, showcasing Pearls Before Swine's mercurial spirit as they transform folky material into something new; a plea for ecstasy and perspective amid audio-verite washes of nature's bounty. This is anti-war sentiment at its most graceful.