A quickly flipped attempt to answer Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band's synergy of lysergic vision, paintbox fashion sense and shameless psychedelia, the Stones needn't have tried so hard on Their Satanic Majesties Request. Soon enough Brian Jones would become a truly mad hatter, Keith a scurvied pirate and Mick would conjure dark forces, not merely drape himself in a wizard's cap and cape.
Much like those heinous outfits, so often Satanic Majesties Request feels like a put-on, reacting to the Beatles'studio stakes-raising rather than doing what the Stones did best (and would soon after perfect for a four-album stretch). George Harrison cops Ravi Shankar? Then Brian and Keith will co-opt Africa's and Jakarta's tribal trance. George Martin deploys orchestras? Then Andrew Loog Oldham drags in mellotrons.
Still, it's fun to hear the Stones get medieval on your ass. “Sing This All Together (See What Happens)” and “Gomper” overstay their welcome, but “Citadel,” “2000 Man” and “She's A Rainbow” remain sunbursts of kaleidoscopic pop. Not only are these songs anomalous in the Stones'catalog, but soon enough such winsome tendencies would forever after be buried under country blues, black magic and real sympathy for their satanic majesty.