Psychic Baggage is the latest offering from Duncan Blachford, formerly of Drunk Hands and Witch Hats, now a member of Snawklor, Rubbish Throwers, Actual Holes and Miniature Submarines.
Alison Bolger (Beaches, Panel of Judges) collaborates on two of the albums tracks, adding vocals and improvised saxophone.
"Guitar and percussion dominate, but the way they are employed has more in common with the deconstructed approach of The Dead C, or the kind of creepy-crawl atmospherics found on Sonic Youth’s Bad Moon Rising. Most of the tracks run for over seven minutes, allowing them room to breathe and expand. Amplifier static, electric crackles and reverb-heavy steel strings fade in and out, while the percussion clatters in loose rhythmic patterns informed by jazz rather than rock structures.
There aren’t many troughs or peaks in this music. Rather, tracks unfold gradually, without resolving or building towards a crescendo. The exception is ‘Sick In Memphis’, which begins with brushed drums and a spooky, distant guitar line, but eventually becomes overwhelmed by an almighty wave of distortion, which decays again into a low rumble.
Alison Bolger (Panel Of Judges, Beaches, Actual Holes) contributes snippets of vocal to ‘Free Sunshine’ and reappears on the last track with some impressive skronky saxophone improvisations. On this number, Blachford cuts loose with a full drum kit, whipping up a percussive thunderstorm over shimmering guitar noises and droning bass notes.
Psychic Baggage evokes a pre-dawn feel; a strung out weariness and nerve-jangling restlessness. Like all the best albums, it works as a whole to create a singular universe of sound which listeners can immerse and lose themselves in. It makes for languid, yet never soothing listening, like being over-tired and simultaneously jittery from drinking too much coffee. Psychic Baggage is mood music for the chemically unbalanced."
Source: René Schaefer, Mess+Noise
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