Somehow, even within the most cynical of moods, I still find an inordinate amount of joy in a great psych-pop record – especially one so beautifully recorded onto vinyl. Each side houses five perfectly formed analogue, reverb/delay tinged candy-covered electric tunes. These late 70’s / early 80’s dreamy pop songs are steeped in lo-fi goodness, woven into a coherent shape by Gary War and mastered by Ariel Pink. The Ariel Pink connection is quite apparent from the start, yet War’s songs feel well crafted and less hit’n’miss than many of Pink’s later volumes. Each song tells its own tale, expressing itself through a linear style and confident approach. This could have easily emerged via Siltbreeze, and stands tall against last year’s blissful LPs from U.S Girls and Sic Alps. The LP comes on 12” vinyl only and sounds all the better for it. As you flip the black disk over, you are immediately transported to the faded primary colours of decades past. The antiquity of the sound also has a lot to do with everything being laid-down onto a Tascam home studio.
“Clouds Went That Way” chimes the a-side into fruition. Vocal harmonies fuzz with direct verse against a tonic of psyched electronics, twanged guitar and flute sounds. Wobbly reverb issues forth through the noise, murkying the clarity of War’s great song writing. Toy-box child melodies twinkle and burn their way to prominence in a miniature freak-out. Elements of Animal Collectives quickened-step electronic pop (circa Merriweather) are apparent on “Good Clues”. Some 70’s prog harmonium creeps into the mix via tin-sounding keyboard synths. “Obscure Preferences” issues forth as a lost early no wave track. Angular 80’s synth is encapsulated in “Please Don’t Die” drifts into the mesmeric rambling, in the style of Spacemen 3, fuzz-laden glory of “Cyclops Eye”. And so ends the first side of this truly awesome nostalgia trip. The B-Side drifts through garage psych and new wave styling with healthy doses of DIY amateur slip-ups. “Healthy Living” could have been lifted straight out of Ariel Pink’s “Worn Copy” LP. However, all comparisons aside, this truly rocks and incorporates influence, rather than being a mimic of others hard work. Playing like all you’ve dreamed of in a dreamy psych-pop haze. “Edge Of Mess” closes the record with highly distorted sounds that only just allow the catchy melody to latch on. Go forth and have some fun! 8/10 -- Peter Taylor (28 January, 2009)