Saturday, March 24, 2012

Houdan the Mystic - 2012 - Archer's Jamboree

Psychedelic Rock

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Rarely does music require me to turn down the level of bass for fear my subwoofer won't survive the journey, let alone last through the first song! That was the case here, as I was getting a sonically-induced breeze at my feet from the first moments of this record and it was awesome. It's like the music had come to life and Houdan the Mystic was playing a show under my desk! Far out indeed. This might not break a lot of new ground for psychedelic rock music, held notes, echo, reverb, crazy pedal effects, but it does sound really, really good and that's what I want from music. There are flashes of exquisitely technical instrument work on display – lot of it on display behind the skins, with drummer Ethan Johnstone keeping things jazzy and fluid. Tell me drums on 'The Men Who Own Evil Laughs' aren't a brilliant display of drum work. Go ahead and try, I'll wait. Of course, given my opening statement, you'd think the bass came in giant, shattering waves. And on some tracks, you'd be absolutely correct. It too gets to shine like the drums and guitar ('Sleeping or Worse', 'Chasing the Strobe'), but when it's not, it's this monolithic wall that blocks out everything else in its wake. To that end 'Ten Bears' stands out from the rest of the album, in that the guitar/bass effects replace proper riffs to create the sound of going backwards (you know, what TV shows and movies use as a 'rewind' sound... Listen, you'll know what I mean) while the drums continue propelling everything forward. It's trippy in a way psychedelic music doesn't usually try to be, but Houdan makes it work. When there is singing, it's almost always harmonies that bring the music back down to reality a bit, since they aren't awash in filters. Kind of a let down in that regard, but not an egregious error, simply a matter of taste in the end. Gather round all ye unbelievers and bear witness to Houdan the Mystic and his psychedelic wonders!.

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