Great desert rock from the UK !
Two years after Mojo Rising, Bradford’s quatuor Psychlona is back with their second full length album entitled Venus Skytrip. Fuzz, dust, smoke and good old desert rock on the road !
How is the sound ?
Almost two years ago, in November 2018, I remember that I fell on a trippy colored artwork. “Psychlona Mojo Rising” was written on it. I found the visual quite nice, wondering “oh this looks like pretty cool music”, so I put on my headphones and pressed play. The two first tracks “Stone” and “Ride” directly caught my attention. That was solid desert rock in the pure style of the bands that made me enter in the stoner universe and, damn, that was good !
Then you can imagine that I was looking forward to their second album. Well, this one is entitled Venus Skytrip and was released on last August 21st. With this eight-track album, Bradford’s quatuor does not disappoint me at all. Our English fuzzers continue to distill their psychedelic and super efficient desert rock potion, incorporating some heavier influences into it. And the artwork – by Kyrre Bjurling – remains wonderful !
Venus Skytrip starts with “Blast Off”. Spacey effects and recorded voices initiate the journey and quickly leave room for a rather classic but energetic desert rock riff. A spaceship ? A muscle car ? The listener does not really know where he is sitting in but the music inside is loud and reminds Fu Manchu. “Blast Off” sets the pace : Venus Skytrip is going to be loud, fuzzy, and super catchy.
Paradoxically, electricity in the air decreases a little bit with the next track “10,000 Volts”. This one is a bit slower and heavier, almost sententious. The music progresses in a kind of spooky and bluesy vibe that gets closer to Black Sabbath. Craziness roams around there and becomes more visible with a nice wah solo at the end. Third track “Blow” is not the one I prefer on Venus Skytrip but remains a good one. The kind of song that you keep in mind easily, with its efficient stoner repetitive riff and a catchy chorus. I feel that the singing is even more important on this one and helps to manage the tension and the intensity.
Following tracks “Star” and “Edge Of The Universe” come back to a pure desert rock style. Both are shorter (less than 4mn) but very intense. Pace is higher and the composition follows a more punkish approach. In “Star” psychedelia is sustained by these acid and fuzzy guitar licks typical of the genre. The same thick and dirty low tuned fuzz works very well in “Edge Of The Universe”. The guitar riff with palm mute takes you directly to your next desert session while nice atmospheric breaks reinforce the psychedelic feeling. Both songs sound great to me : I love Psychlona in this straightforward approach.
Next one “Resin” is another great song. The trippy voice and the alternance between calm passages and loud and crushing sections will certainly remind you bands like Nebula or Lowrider. The balance between the two is precise and efficient. Tension is well managed and psychedelia gains in intensity throughout the music. And check out these floating key notes at the end to conclude the song.
Following track “Tijuana” is another desert rock oriented song, fueled with its traditional ingredients : upbeat rhythm, wah guitar, heavy riffs and groovy breaks that directly make you headbang. It is another proof that this is the musical approach where Psychlona is the best. Ultimate track “The Owl” is slower and more monolithic. It works as a slight drift into the heavy psych territory.
Why is this album worth listening to?
- Because Venus Skytrip is doped with the best desert rock influences.
- Because solid desert rock albums are not that common.
- Because Venus Skytrip may be even more easy to listen to than their previous – and excellent – opus Mojo Rising.
In what situation you should listen to this album?
In your car during your next holiday trip of course !
For Fans Of
Kyuss - Nebula - Monster Magnet - Fu Manchu
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