JAM THE ALBUM WHILE YOU READ
"GREAT ADD YOU SAUCY MINX" - BEN
"PSYCHO/TROPIC" ALBUM REVIEW
APRIL 10TH, 2023
So, you didn’t know it but you’re looking for that safe sonic acid trip free from scary monsters and melting faces and burning bushes. You’re looking for earwig delights and smooth hyperdrive star fields, right? Good. Because on the 11-track LP PSYCHO/TROPIC Joshua Powell’s self-professed astral rock is drenched in heavenly melody and delightful lyricism. It’s a 60-minute swim within a blissful psychedelic soup.
The opening track “Black Lodge (Water)” gives us an a cappella Appalachian dirge intro that rolls into a rollicking psych stomp that echoes the post-rock stylings of a band like God Is An Astronaut but wholly original.
This album is a trip. But it’s no Flaming Lips ego tripping. PSYCHO/TROPIC is a reigned in cosmology with indie folk stardust sprinkled throughout a web of stellar production. Whenever you start to think the surreal floaty nature of these tunes threaten to overwhelm, the band pulls back into simple acoustic pickings. Yes, sitar noodlings and chimes and harmonica and soft keys and lush strings account for beautifully layered tracks, but they are perfectly placed within the context of each song. As the album progresses it’s impossible not to fall under the spell of Joshua’s vocals. His voice is as smooth as a Persian kitten, and delivered on cotton candy clouds. Sweet, but never sickly.
“Bliss is a Flak Jacket” sits squarely in the middle of this album and is an absolute highlight. It’s the shortest track at 3:54 and cries radio friendly pop song. But that’s the thing with this album; it is not filled with simple pop songs. It does not pander to the 2-3 minute in-and-out mantra of disposable radio. These songs are travelogues. These songs say: “Headphones! Put them on. Lay with me in a hammock. Float. Swing. Drift away beneath cloud and sky. Let me remind you of the joy of music as journey.”
This album is a delight. Introduce yourself. You’re going to be friends.
- Trent Ryan Smith