Jason Edmonds and his merry psych-folk folk continue to reduce the genre to its simplest, prettiest form, making dreamy tunes rather than what you might call 'face-melters'. They still like to make a horrible noise when they can, though, so who knows what you're gonna get: 'Sky Sounds' has an optimistic and light tone, but the guitars often jangle and crash with the best of them.
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- Sky Sounds by Magic Castles
8/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 30 October 2014
Brian "Anton Newcombe" Jonestown from Brian and the Jonestowns popped in yesterday for a shop and a chinwag and very charming he turned out to be too. I mention this because this Magic Castles LP is out on his very own 'a' imprint, and the band's expansive wall of psychedelic jangle and drone owes clear debts to BJM's '60s flavoured sound.
The similarity is particularly evident in the early stages of 'Sky Sounds', with opener 'Trembling Hands' easing us in with shuffling rhythms full of shaker and tambourine, droning organ, breathy swells of reverbed vocals and snaking backwards masked guitars which builds to an admirably epic crescendo of cathedralesque guitar screeching and pounding drums and emphatically smeared melodies. Second track 'Sky Sounds' sees them in a sun-bleached slacker mode in a laid back countryish plod with strummy guitars and wistful vocals punctuated with streaks of high-gain guitar.
For the most part the first half of the album concentrates on more psych-pop oriented material while on side B they delve into a more spacey and ritualistic bag of tricks, with 'White Stone' and 'Mole People' particularly impressing here. The former is a throbbing Dead Skeletons-ish hypno-rock incantation full of Eastern-sounding riffs, deliriously rumbling bass, wailing wah guitar, cosmic synth drones and chanted vocals, leading seamlessly into the irresistible groove of the latter, which mixes a Goat-ish tribal psych rock vibe with dreamy trails of reverb and distracted vocals, wandering organ melodies all meandering patiently to a churning Hawkwind-esque payoff.
Super fun. In short it's droney psychedelic pop in places, cosmic hypno-rock in others, and Magic Castles are pretty good at both.
10/10 Mal Customer review, 2nd November 2014
A fantastic follow up to their eponymous last album, lazy loping west coast psychedelia like honey to your ears. Although you could say you've heard it all before, they manage to make it sound fresh. Trembling Hands starts it off with the aforesaid lazy loping style that gives a hint to the rest of the album, I've only had it a couple of days and I think I must have played it half a dozen times. This is going to be one of those you can back to over and over again. Can't recommend it highly enough.
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