Psychic Ills’ new record is another ecstatic piece of psychedelic quality, working on an especially large scale. A broad cast of friends helped out with the recording, including Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. Inner Journey Out is released by Sacred Bones, with sleeve art that imitates a battered old thrift-store record.
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- SBR155LPC1 / Limited 'Desert Haze' coloured vinyl LP on Sacred Bones. Includes free 'Like Shadows Dancing in the Dark' label sampler CD
7/10 Robin Staff review, 31 May 2016
Here are some cool folks who sound like they’d quite like to make a psych rock album while simultaneously discussing the merits of the Calexico discography. Psychic Ills, who I’ve long had pegged as a Sacred Bones standard bearer (noisy but accessible, psychedelic but festival-lite), start off ‘Inner Journey Out’ with a track that’s part shimmering guitar shoegaze, part acoustic slow jam, part organ reverence and even has hints of what sound like horns. The only thing I really recognise is that slurred but contented vocal, whittling its way through the song like Anton Newcombe after he’s showered off the distortion. Is it nice to be nice?
It would seem so. This record starts with rays of languishing sunshine, tripping out on old-school pop songs and the subtle outreaches of Americana. “Another Change” shimmers like an overcast Kevin Morby song, settling into a bass groove while big, bold vocal harmonies burst in from the side and little smacks of guitar slide everything down to an even chiller prong of existence. “I Don’t Mind” opens on acoustic strums and a silly lil’ synth melody, occasionally twanging on the spot and bringing to mind a Case Studies record with the very same low-key folk.
Are Psychic Ills holidaying? Somewhat: they occasionally check their rawk emails and feel bad about it, bringing in some electrifying, nostalgia-ridden psych in the form of “Mixed Up Mind”, but it’s the soft spots that they seem to be killing it on, right now. “Baby” is so outrageously cliched in its psych-pop idioms it feels like its title is poignant self-parody; harmonica screeches its way through the Okkervil River-inspired abandon of “Coca-cola Blues”. It’s all so corny. Sometimes you just gotta, though. Get corny.
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