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!
6 Mondo Jet Set - Provincial Drama Club
Provincial Drama Club is Mondo Jet Set’s fourth albums and it could well be their most brilliant, and most baffling yet. It is a collection of 23 songs, the vast majority of which clock in at under two minutes. Even the longer tracks like Caravan/The Slow Arcade are actually two songs spliced together. The quirkiness and brevity of many of the songs remind me of The Magnetic Fields’ magnificent 69 Love Songs where the band veer from Busby Berkley show tunes to Velvet Underground style punk and then on to cheesy jazz in the space of five minutes. Provincial Drama Club is slightly less exotic than 69 Love Songs – the key influences here are The Kinks, early Blur B sides and occasionally the harmonies of the Wilson Brothers – but is still a disconcerting listening experience. Yet like 69 Love Songs, which took me about 10 plays before finally getting under its skin, stick with Provincial Drama Club and pretty soon you’ll be so addicted to it you’ll wish there were even more songs to hear. There really are so many highlights here from the instant pop blast of ‘Everyone I Know Dead Or Fire’ or the Blur-esuqe (think Bank Holiday type thrashes) ‘Moth Attack.’ Pretty much everything on the album has a hook or a melody and some odd instrumentation that makes it very memorable. It does get a little too much at times. Alice – the latter part of John Before The Fire – has a gorgeous Beach Boys’ style melody which you want to hang around for way longer than the one minute that MJS give it. But given the ambition and scope of Provincial Drama Club I can forgive them anything. And when finally you have exhausted this album – and it has taken me the best part of three months to get in any way remotely tired of it, there is its predecessor Ha, Ha, Ha to explore – an album that for me was the best, ok second best, of 2011. A must buy for anyone who cherishes quirky English pop.