Bandcamp Gems [BCGm25]
4 February, 2013
Once again, I’ve found two entirely unrelated bands for your listening pleasure. Heads up, though – while I don’t normally lay down arbitrary ratings on these reviews, I can say with confidence this time that the latter album is better than the former one. But there’s a time and place for every kind of music, so…
The Citradels – Looks like a typo, sounds like psychedelia. But not the raucous, garage sort – much of Psychotic Syndrone is the slow, droning, metaphysical variety, especially the opener “On Then Out”. Vocals sound as if they were recorded deep in a cavern, and tend to lack much expression (think Crystal Stilts). Not a deplorable thing – certainly evokes the spiritual, psyched-out effect that the Citradels are hoping to achieve – but does get mildly tiresome after eight tracks without variation. While the vocals remain constant, the style and instrumentation do shift, from the mellowed jam of “She’s Gone” to “Not Today”, which features a very 60s-esque organ synth. The Citradels do, at times, evoke Americana garage rock, but always with their ethereal vocals and ambling tempos. The band’s probably at their mystical best, however, when summoning Indian (i.e from India) vibes on tracks like “Jantar Mantar”, where sitars twang sweetly and hand drums bubble and rattle. Mysterious pipes and flutes blare at regular intervals, and the omnipresent drone lingers serenely in the background. Now THAT’S psychedelia you can meditate to.
The two worlds of drug-induced, Americana psych rock and Indian harmony mesh wonderfully on “Here to Know”, which I might peg out as the star track. Yeah...yeah, I will. If you need to sample just one tune, sample that one. Because the union of sitar bliss and rockin’ power is just divine.
And then the Citradels surprised me with “Illuminous” – it’s a very Spiritualized track, a bright tune but with this glorious, shoegaze-worthy distortion shading the whole song.
There’s something else to “Dreamt So Long”, where a golden harmonica from a distant time hums out and yet another 60s organ plays a lovely descending line. The melody in the vocals sounds SO familiar – low and sweet, swung in a wistful way…where’s that from? I don’t know, but it’s so nice and easy – the kind of song you’d spin while lying in a hammock on a comfy Sunday evening.
The last highlight from this album is its outlier – “Deadly Nightshade”, an edgier track that most, with muscled-out guitars and vocals with some pep to ‘em! Sometimes I hear a touch of Jim Morrison, other times a dash of Alan Vega. Cool, right?
Psychotic Syndrone is available for whatever price you wish to pay on the Citradel’s Bandcamp site.
Flies On You – Now, let’s fast forward a few decades, shall we? Flies On You are a self-proclaimed “DIY post-punk duo” from Leeds, but certainly not the sullen type. Irreverent, inventive, and just so much FUN, Nothing To Write Home About is a 18-track marathon of demented, greasy, brazen goodness, that alters drastically at almost every turn. “Shipmanesque” is, quite simply, badass, a rapid-fire assault of bass and guitar; yet the next track, “The Sink”, opens and progresses rather chillingly. Still, the overall aesthetic of the album is definitely more punkish than post-punkish – just significantly more imaginative and unpredictable in both content and style.
This whole album is frickin’ brilliant, but one of my favorites is “Schmutziger Hund”, a tune with a perky riff where the vocals slip seamlessly into German. Either that, or “Slashing It Down”, an angular piece with the most glorious guitar riffs.
Though Flies On You often balance the line between punk and post-punk, they pay homage to their punk roots with “You’re Shite”…although you’d probably expect that from a track called “You’re Shite”, wouldn’t ya? But then maybe you wouldn’t expect these bad boys to take up dub, but they actually make a twisted stab at it with, well, “Dub Cities”, that employs the appropriate drum echoes and syncopated bass, but also features some curious female vocals, too. One of the oddest tracks on this album, though, (and there are several oddballs) is “Yeah, Wild I Know, But Nonetheless”, which proffers a conspiracy theory concerning John Lennon over a hyperactive house/electro beat. Yeah. It IS wild.
I could go on and on with a myriad raving adjectives, but I’d rather you listen and be in rapture yourself. Hop over to Flies On You’s Bandcamp site and please, please purchase Nothing to Write. I know I will. Soon. As in, as soon as I have my regular computer back.