If you like a Beatley melody, some twangy guitar, a smidgen of sitar and the odd bonkers middle eight 2013 has been a vintage year so far. The rush of new psych bands that emerged in 2012 has blossomed into a worldwide movement. And it isn’t all about 60 re-treads. Some of the new bands are clearly inspired by this mob and at the same time borrow as much from 80s bands like these and these as they are from the 60s originals.
Here then are my ten favourite psych albums of the year so far. The superb Bed Rugs and Morgan Delt don’t make the cut as their offerings are more EPs than albums. I also have thing for the new albums from Suede, Bill Ryder Jones, Still Corners and Jagwar Ma, but none are really psych enough to make the cut. And as for the new Darren Hayman album - well that is something else…
There’s loads to come too with The Soundcarriers, Len Price 3, Morgan Delt, Balduin and others all promising new albums by the end of the year. You lucky people!
1 The Hidden Masters - Of This And Other Worlds
There is a bit of psych revival going on at the moment with thousands of bands from all across their world aping their 60s heroes in creating trippy, yet hook-filled soundscapes. A lot of those bands take the easy route and splice a dreamy melody to a driving beat before drenching it all in howling feedback. Not The Hidden Masters though. For Scotland’s finest Psych band plunder just about every late 60s genre to produce a very imaginative and ambitious sound that really doesn’t have much else in common with any other bands at the moment. They seem to have swallowed the Brit Psych rule book whole and lesson one in said book is that each tune should be chocka with so many twists and turns that the listener really doesn’t have a clue what to expect next. To aficionados this means mini pop symphonies like the Pretty Things finest moment Defecting Grey or even Dantalion’s Chariot’s Madman Running Through The Fields,who featured a pre-Police Andy Summers on a bewitching guitar solo. In many ways almost half of the tracks on this the band’s debut sound like they are attempting to create psych versions of Bohemian Rhapsody. As well as Of This And Other Worlds being ambitious it is also brilliant too. The trio know how to take their influences – think Da Capo era love as well as Chocolate Soup Brit psych – whack them in the aural blender and come up with something that sounds both familiar and unique – surely the holy grail for intelligent pop music in 2013. They set their stall out on the opener She Broke The Clock Of the Long Now which sounds to me like a whole Rubble compilation condensed into four and a half action-packed minutes. Into The Night Sky and Perfume which come straight after highlight their Love influence the most. Imagine if Arthur Lee Lee had come from Lanarkshire rather than LA. There is then great tune after tune all stuffed with fascinating melodic twists and turns, unusual instrumental excursions, intense period detail that only the true psych anorak would be aware of and more. Sometimes it is almost too much. And then the band unveil their two ace cards Last Days of The Sun and Like Candy. Last Days is magical. It sounds like the missing link between Wimple Winch and west coast US psych. It lasts six amazing minutes and contains more musical ideas in that time than Coldplay have had a in a decade. If anything Like Candy is even better. A huge harmony drenched pop song that bizarrely half way through blossoms into a Gospel type sing along before the melody gives way to a brilliant 70s style guitar solo. As I said at the beginning there are lot of psych bands at the moment. But no one else sounds like The Hidden Masters. They are utterly unique and your life would be massively enriched by owning their album.