Careening Through Space with Psychlona
Psychlona are very heavy and very immersively psychedelic. They like hypnotic riffs, and volume, and organic textures that degenerate naturally into distortion and fuzz. And it’s obvious that this album wasn’t recorded to a click track. If your idea of a good time is getting so stoned that you can’t get off the couch, this is your jam. This music doesn’t move around a lot, either: it just hits you over and over again. The band’s 2016 album Mojo Rising – which has nothing to do with the Doors – is streaming at Bandcamp.
The distantly tolling guitar riff that kicks off the opening track, Stone, doesn’t hint at the all-enveloping crush that develops soon after. The band’s publicist nailed it when he mentioned early Orange Goblin; early Sleep is another good comparison, especially when it hits you that this is basically a one-chord jam.
From there the group – guitarists Phil Hey and Dave Wainfor, bassist Martyn Birchall and drummer Scott Frankling – ride a wave of screechy fuzz into Ride, the second track. It’s a funny, brisk boogie in an early Fu Manchu vein, where the guys want to get into the weed and the wine but the girl talking in the right channel isn’t into it. Down in the Valley may be hypnotic, but it’s an evil place – and that halfspeed Psychotic Reaction hook will have you nodding your head despite yourself.
Big River is about as far from Johnny Cash as you can possibly imagine, following Sleep-y fast/slow dynamics with layers of wah wafting through the mix: here and there Birchall’s bass slithers up for air. The band go back to heavy stoner boogie for Your God, an even more immersive one-chord heavy spacerock jam.
Master of Reality wah bass converges with into-the-fan vocals in Juju, as the band go doublespeed and back. Black Dog is not the Zep classic but an original where the foursome careen their way up to another doublespeed wah guitar boogie. They close with Beakfoot – all of a sudden the grit is off the bass, replaced by watery 80s sonics as the guitars go unexpectedly bluesy, over nine minutes worth of a one-chord jam where everybody in the band eventually goes through every one of their stompbox settings to keep things interesting.