Khun Narin is a Thai musician who received a bit of Western attention thanks to Youtube. With his Electric Phin Band, he plays a fairly excellent form of psychedelia, with long, spaced-out jams that centre on the phin, a kind of lute. II contains original tunes in addition to a few covers of Thai pop songs. Released by Innovative Leisure.
7/10 Robin Staff review, 15 June 2016
Khun Narin’s rock music is illusory: at times it sounds slow, plodding and content to reroute before it’s peaked, as on the uncannily hard-to-grasp riff of “Phua Kao”, which sounds delicious and infuriating at the same time. At times they sound fired up but exhausted by the heat of performing, as on “Phom Rak Mueang Thai”, a pacier track with the same kind of psychedelically backpedalled riffs. ‘Electric Phin Band’ is the second record by the band, featuring the same soloing on handmade Thai phin, and it shows their masterful sleight of hand once again -- these tracks are as repetitive and resolute as the best psych rock, but their discontinuous riffs seem to hide something away.
Fans of bands like Dungen and Blown Out while find a lot to like here, as the record seems to relax on heavy rock idioms, meditating on psychedelia with solos that oscillate but never climax. These songs are worked around simple and extremely sparse rhythm work, as on the quiet and unfussy “Baisi Sukhwan”, which leads casually into the faster and altogether groovier “Sao Kalasin Lam Phloen”.
Moments of melodrama filter into Khun Narin’s sound, as on the sorrowful intro to “Long Wat”, but these moments are spread over generally chilled phin jams that seem to show off fun riffs and put a nice soundsystem on display. It’s a great record, and if it were summertime in practice as much as it is in theory, I’d suggest taking it out into your garden with you.
2/10 Marty B Customer review, 15th May 2016
Sounds like restaurant background music! Meandering and quite dull really ....... I tried to like it but couldn't. This promises so much and delivers so little - some reviews are describing this as psych - how so, it is most definitely not. It's okay but not radical or life changing. I feel duped - I was expecting a whole lot more ....... Cover is nice though! I'm listening to this now and feel cheated - it really is mediocre crap. I would suggest hearing before buying. I have a used copy if anyone wants it.
7/10 Danny McNeill Customer review, 28th March 2016
Having been unfamiliar (along with the majority of humans outside of Thailand) with this outfit, I was slightly surprised to see this album come up among various muso sites labeling this LP with "just as good as the first, if not better" type summaries. I missed the boat with these guys so it seems. The genre tag alone of 'Thai-psych-experimental-traditional-garage-rock' is a record diggers dream, and hence I picked up the album with no hesitation.
Track 1, titled 'Phua Kao' (no this is not the one with cashews) is a great introduction, if not a blueprint for the whole of the album. Think repetitive tinny vibrato lead guitar, with kitchen utensil percussion. Doesn't sound great on paper, but where these chaps excel is that they've got this great "I should have taken drugs before I put this on" sound so nailed on that you'd think Ray Manzarek had done a few side albums in Bangkok when he wasn't busy tripping balls with the lads back home. They've got bags and bags of rhythm (and bags of other stuff as well apparently). The roots of the music is laid heavy on traditional Eastern themes, that hallmark Pentatonic scale is always evident, and unfortunately they never really go deep down into the acid bath to the point where you feel your brain will come out your nose. In fact, its not even psychedelic really. This is more like a 'you can show everyone at work that your insanely cultured and probably did mushrooms once at a Tame Impala gig' vibe, without having to really be any more cultured than a kids yoghurt. It's easy accessible Thai Rock.
The whole production of the album is aimed to get that kind of raw sound they achieve by carting their whole setup on the back of sloppy jalopy, and blasting it through the streets of (some town in Thailand). This may lead you may to think your Stereocilia is being mowed down by a machine gun, as the stringed instruments can be slightly nauseating if listening to this album completely sober. Like I did. Like an idiot.
All in all, just buy this album. There's no backwards swirly guitars with voices recorded 50 yards away through a walkie-talkie behind the Tesco, but this is something new and refreshing to pierce the Snapple lid on a tightly sealed psych genre.
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