Take a trip with ROB HUGHES as he seeks out the latest mind-expanding music.
Oh Sees leader John Dwyer, who knows a thing or two about wired psychedelic rock, calls Straight Arrows “the fuzziest, most catchiest, escapist, good-times vending, rapscallion trampoline shiners this side of the Murray River”. The Australian quartet’s third effort, On Top! (Agitated), pounds forth like a bull from a gate, evoking the wild R&B of 60s primitives like The Sonics and Them. Fronted by guitarist and songwriter Owen Penglis, there are also nods to freakbeat, garage punk (Gun Man feels like a lost outtake from Nuggets) and the classic age of psychedelia
(the fuzz-smothered Buried Again). The overall effect is invigorating.
Dwyer may well also fancy the equally ferocious La Planète Inexplorée (Stolen Body), from French trio Slift. Under the guidance of noted producer Lo Spider in Toulouse, the band immerse themselves in distorted psych jams, at their best on the riffy might of Something In The Mist and Ant Skull, which borrows its intro groove from the Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil.
Closer to home, Nothing In Particles (Dawn Chorus Recording Company) is an intriguing EP from Nelson Parade, otherwise known as Callum Magill. Cue five tracks of keyboard-driven psychedelic pop from the youngest brother of Syd Arthur’s familial clan, aided by Josh and Joel Magill. Best of the bunch is the luminous Kevin Crashed And Then Woke Up.
Carlisle’s The Lucid Dream have chosen to deviate from their usual prog stylings on Actualisation (Holy Are You), moving into the unexpected realm of acid house. It’s still pretty out-there though, with frontman Mark Emmerson using vintage Roland synths as the basis for epic spacetronic grooves that shimmy and jitter with real purpose. Alone In Fear, a caustic response to the calamity that is Brexit, sounds like Underworld in top gear. SX1000, already a favourite of DJ Andrew Weatherall, is restlessly inventive, offset by the King Tubby-ish comedown of No Sunlight Dub.
Another culture clash is provided by Schizo Fun Addict, whose El Shoegaze Bossa Nova (Sugarbush) – as its title implies – hitches the Brazilian esoterica of Sergio Mendes and Antonio Carlos Jobim to the gliding reveries of 1990s indie. Led by Jet Wintzer and Jayne Gabriel, the band make it work admirably, from the beatific psychedelia of Alone At Makaha to Window Pain, with its gentle trumpets and wistful descriptions of sea spray on glass. Back on a heavier tip, Shampoo You
(God? Records) finds Chicago trio
Axis: Sova in psychedelic jam mode, tearing through songs with a petulant sneer and fearsome volume. Mainman Brett Sova is an astute operator, creating a near-perfect balance of melody and raw noise.