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!
5 The Shadow Kabinet - Nostalgia For The Future
Having made his Fabs’ inspired pop masterpiece, Smiling Worlds’ Apart, steve Somerset aka The Shadow Kabinet has fast forwarded a decade or so with Nostalgia and many of the tracks sound like they have their roots in the 70s as opposed to the 60s vibe of his earlier albums. Sure there’s a smidgen of psych, especially in the album’s opener – the title track – and its Lennon-esque finale Let It Go, but in between the music’s inspiration hovers somewhere between 73-76. So you have Dust Descends Into Light – a droney slice of Wish You Were Here era Floyd complete with Gilmour-esque guitar and Ladder To The Moon, whose jazzy interludes and odd instrumentation recall Peter Frampton. The album’s opening single Angelville even has a whiff of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Games about it. Somerset’s songwriting has blossomed too. There are some great off the wall lyrics, such as Have We Got Max On Board which imagines how a world war was temporarily postponed so the world’s inhabitants wouldn’t miss the final of the X-Factor. Or the story of a girl who falls out of her window in Camden in the intriguing Ladder To the Moon. While the lyrics are often inspired and the arrangements ambitious it is the melodies that carry this excellent album. The title track may be Somerset’s best ever though Honey Glow Afternoon – a gorgeous slice of folk pop – runs it very close. If you have ever loved Pugwash, XTC, The Orgone Box or any number of McCartney influenced US power poppers then you’ll adore this.