Droneverdose by “the band whose name is symbol”Release date: January 19, 2018
Label: Cardinal Fuzz
There is a moment at approximately one minute into this new album from Canadian psych stalwarts “the band whose name is symbol”, that so encapsulates their definition of psych that you simply fall in love with the new album straight away. A simple harmonica break, amongst all the droned out rhythms and melodies. It’s a clean bluesy break into a void of noise, adding a real “now” momentum to the proceedings. It’s the sound of TBWNIS making a statement. A simple statement, but one nonetheless.
TBWNIS have been on the psych scene for nine years now, releasing eleven albums of varying intensity and psychedelic goodness. Sometimes direct, often meandering, they seem to be rewriting the rules of what it means to be a psych band within the jam band ethic, and within the noodling moments, there is a true thirst to provide moments of straightforward intensity. They have a truly symbiotic sound making every moment seem to natural in its search for ever expanding avenues.
Starting the album with two short tracks in shows an innate sense at keeping things tight and measured but it is on the longer moments that the band really shine. The first of these is during the funkily driven ‘Gaussian Blur & Beach Debris’ which uses the organ to fantastic effect during the first half. When it reaches the halfway stage it the rest of the music takes over into a cavalcade of glorious wonder, each new melodic turn taking us further into the rabbit hole. It’s a merry go round into instant psychedelic delight, the sound of your mind turning in on itself and flipping an almighty bird to “normality”. When the organ returns like a long lost friend you find yourself rising up with as one with the music. God know what it must sound like on drugs.
‘118”s slightly off-kilt chanted opening sounds like some lost recordings from the back end of a bad trip before a driving bass brings the track into a free-form jam led by an incendiary guitar. Channelling the spirit of space rock into a true attack on the senses, the moment it descends into the sound of hand-claps and chants is precisely the moment when you start to wonder if you have actually elevated to some higher plain. Rather than disconcerting, it’s actually a comforting feeling as the band lead you steadily on with their firm, direct hand.
The pay-off of ‘Tsunami of Bullshit’ is a culmination of all that has gone before. It’s semi-victorious march not providing any come-down at all, but instead incessantly keeping you on the upbeat path of the light fantastic. There’s movement in that you cannot fail to sway along, as you let the music lead you forever on, but most of all there is passion. It’s a passion to explore psych as an idea within music as an art-form, and with that comes an ever exploratory edge. TBWNIS may have hit heady heights in the past but here they consolidate everything great about themselves into one neat package. Droneverdose is one of those albums which feels like it is an epoch defining moment, not just for Canadian psych, but in general too. It is the sound of the band arriving at just where they deserve to be, with a future wide open for further adventures of the mind.