Two great albums for review today, both in what I think would qualify today as “psychedelic.”
First, the UK’s Fat White Family, with their first album in four years, offer a sound that mixes modern electronic beats, good old fashioned guitar, and the kind of ambience that came when artists started transitioning from the harder psych of the 1970s to the gentler, D.I.Y.-with-a-computer stuff of the 2000s.
“Feet” is the single. It’s the obvious single. It’s probably the most straight-ahead song on the album. It’s even got a video.
From there, we start to descend into “I Believe in Something Better,” a muddy journey into ambiguity that ends in a swirling pit of grinding fuzz. And then Vagina Dentata’s gentle keyboard takes us immediately out and back into the light. This is a proper album, in that the songs flow together and clearly arranged with purpose. Other standout tracks include the funky dream-pop of “Kim’s Sunsets,” Baxter Dury’s appearance on “Tastes Good with Money,” and the 1980s-hip-hop meets T-Rex jam “Fringe Runner.” Frankly, every song on this album is good, every song is different–this is one of my favorite releases of the year so far.
So this is a great album. How can we get any better than this on the same day? Go below the bandcamp stream for Mystery Lights’ new album.
Okay, so I asked how we can get better than Fat White Family? We can’t. But we’re not even gonna try.
The Mystery Lights’ second album is an entirely different flavor of psych: Much truer to the 1960s sound of bands like The Standells and The Grass Roots–a crunchy, hard-rocking garage album that will grab you by the collar and won’t let go until the last song has run its course.
More than psych, it’s the roots of punk that you’ll hear here, being watered and tended and kept alive and fresh.
An incredible rhythym section anchors (and begins) each song, followed by a guitar that knows exactly when to jump in–especially on “Someone Else Is In Control,” a creeping rocker designed to make your head bob and keep you off balance. Only a few songs are more than three minutes, and the record rarely slows down. The only place to catch your breath is during “Watching the News Gives Me The Blues,” and by the time it arrives, you’re ready for a break. But don’t relax, because the closer, “Tracer,” kicks you right back into high gear and sends you on your way.