The Cosmic Dead stand out from the crowd of present-day psych-rock explorers, in that the Glaswegian band do actually sound genuinely unhinged. Psych Is Dead finds them going all the way out over the course of three lengthy tracks, each apparently improvised on a cocktail of booze, heat, and intergalactic vibes. Out on Riot Season.
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To commemorate psych rock’s passing, as confirmed by the Cosmic Dead on the 24th of April 2017, I went and generated an online tombstone for it -- here it is, and God bless us all. Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel that if psych rock is dead, it’s in the hoaky BBC soap opera fashion where it’s absolutely definitely been killed off but will unfathomably be alive in, oh, about ten storylines’ time? “Take more than that to kill me”, it’ll say, in a gruff voice, before biting into celebratory breakfast toast.
I hate psych rock, but I love it, and I must review it, and it must be mine. The Cosmic Dead have actually made some of my favourite cuts of recent, especially the euphoric and overdriven energy beam known as ‘Rainbowhead’. Greying out all the happy corners, they now return with a super repetitive, very grating but also quite magnanimous record called, if you hadn’t guessed, ‘Psych is Dead’. It has the same strands of simple guitar hypnosis and taut rhythms, but, being that it’s a Riot Season edition, it drives home the noise and the nastiness for all to enjoy, making good on psych rock’s more embittered excursions into space.
On the side A, the Dead drive slowly and surely towards a freakout of free drums and killed instruments, the feedback and distortion making one feel quite robbed of their ease. The flip seems to swirl into action, a warped, unassuming intro with hurried tinny drums leading into a kosmische interlude of synths back out into a triumphant, surging thrash. So if I had to guess: psych died on side A and came back to save us on side B. Good to know. Of course, they improvised the whole thing, so you know I'm impressed.
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