One is the very limited vinyl LP full-length from Rhododendron and follows from the group’s first in-demand 10” Paris Rendezvous/Le Grind. This duo make a noisy radiophonic racket that has been embraced by daring DJs like Andrew Weatherall. Psychedelic DIY krautrock has never been this catchy.
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- One by Rhododendron
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Some of us are into space; some of us hide away in the garage; some of us are just looking for something as numbing as our morning coffee. Me, I like my psych rock to have the steady and driving tempo that lies at the heart of any good road trip: I like to feel like I woke up on a motorway and I’ll soon fall back to sleep, hopefully before we reach our destination. There are also those people who just plain don’t like psych rock; I respect that, but if you’re into the human action and/or necessity “movement”, Rhododendron’s ‘One’ is nothing to scoff at. This is a record that maintains its pace as steadily as possible while inviting the scenes of a journey to exist and disappear around it.
‘One’ is also really fucking fun: it proposes rolling melodies and tight as fuck rhythms and then maneuvers little flourishes around them, as if the band were arguing about what radio station they should listen to. On “Brute Blaster” they stab at the synth while a sampled voice moves, interrupting itself with different iterations (often with a robotic clarity, but sometimes with desperately human cries). Rhododendron don’t want to become the landscape, like so many other psych bands: they want to give you a tour of it, moving through whirring noises and purdy synth lines (as on the lovely, slightly kraut-Bowie “A Foreign Language”), or even introducing weathered atmospherics on tracks like “Monorail”, whose echoed harmonica and stagnating rhythms feel rained on.
You won’t often find me call psych rock records inventive, but this one feeds off its surroundings, obsessed with manifesting a myriad tones: that collaborator Zizi Kanaan is credited for playing the “paranoid vocal” in the record’s personnel is insight enough into this band’s quote unquote “trip”. I'm told I need to fulfil a quota by mentioning the word radiophonic in this review, so there you go: it reminds me of the popular band Radiophonics.
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