Psychic Ills Spin Eclectic Psychedelia On Fifth LP
By Brody Coronelli - Link: Twitter
Psychic Ills have spent their career spinning fuzzy, psychedelic rock in all it’s blissed-out glory. Most recently, 2011’s Hazed Dream was cavernous and arid, harnessing ambience to bring out a pretty daze, and 2013’s One Track Mind was spooky, urbanized, and bordering on a lucid dream. However, the album showed the band experimenting with more folk-tinged elements nostalgic of when Bob Dylan first brought on a full band. With their Kurt Vile-reminiscent ambience and sleepy delivery, Psychic Ills have spent most of their time as a band sticking to their guns, which means their fifth LP Inner Journey Out is the perfect place for a tipping point.
Sticking to their dreamy, psychedelia while also experimenting with roots rock, Americana, and blues; Inner Journey Out is the band’s most eclectic and inspired LP thus far. Looking to take psychedelia past its limits, the band finds ways to rest on other genres while at the same time retaining their fuzzy charm. The lead single “I Don’t Mind” features Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, and the duet between her and front man Tres Warren consistently borders on a syrupy country ballad though it’s psychedelic charm remains fully intact. With a pedal steel echoing in the distance and a thick ambience in the production, “I Don’t Mind” demonstrates the Ills ability to take a traditional genre and give it a psychedelic spin; something they end up doing for a majority of Inner Journey Out.
Leading in with a euphoric guitar groove complimented with a sugary pedal steel, “Another Change” is a lyrically-neurotic, open-road tempered wave of bliss that makes surprising use of gospel-inspired background vocals and rootsy leads that end up separating the song from a typical psych-rock bender. “Back To You” is beachy and sun-bleached, utilizing full horn and string sections to deliver drawn out, seeping accompaniments to Warren’s sleepy, easygoing vocals. In another roots-tinged endeavor, “Coca-Cola Blues” makes adept use of a harmonica lead, filling in the cracks between verses with distorted, blissful guitar licks and lingering organ chords.
When Psychic Ills are fusing traditional, heartland genres like Americana, blues, and gospel into their hazy brand of psychedelia, the results are shimmering and well executed. Though the album suffers from an unnecessarily lengthy runtime and the occasional derivative track, the Ills ability to create psychedelia with an eclectic twist make Inner Journey Out a worthy, intriguing, and enlightened contender for the soundtrack to your next daydream.
Listen to: “I Don’t Mind”, “Another Change”