Hold the front page…this just in…Psychic Lemon formed a couple of years ago in Cambridge and, from what I can find out, have had a few tracks out and have been building a local following for themselves. Then, blammo, they appear as if from nowhere with a fully formed and with really good debut album that is out at the beginning of March.
The album kicks off with ‘TiCk ToK’, where a crystal clear baseline emerges from a morass of feedback and they’re off with a groovy blues based psych experience that hooks you right in. This is a well produced and well made opener, like the rest of the album recorded on a home set up just around the corner from where Syd Barrett used to live. Some sort of osmosis has clearly occurred here because there are definite nods to the great man, but Psychic Lemon are really more than that.
This is evident in the next ‘Dead Cult Blues’ with it’s baroque bucolic beginning, before it explodes into a prog monster full of plaintiff guitars and Jethro Tull-esque flute. This is really such an accomplished track: complex, ever changing and yet with a strong central theme running through it. There is a real drive to this track with the band playing on the leading edge, yet always in control…magnificent stuff.
After that ‘Good Cop Bad Cop’ show another side to Psychic Lemon, the flute is again very evident but this time think Eric Burdon’s ‘Spill the Wine’; this is a total funk-fest of a track which really gets you moving as the bass grooves its way to a huge climax, almost disintegrating under its own weight. ‘Analogue Summer’ opens brightly with the synesthesia of hearing the band’s name in sound, there is so much going on here from Bowie’s ‘V2 Schneider’ to (appropriately) Floyd’s ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ and, ending with bird song, makes me long for summer.
This seasonal vibe initially continues with ‘Dilator’ before it powers off into a another direction entirely with feedback guitar thrusters on full. In many ways this is probably the most conventional track on the album in terms of structure, but that is more a reflection of the inventiveness that has gone on before. It does, however, underline that this is a band with many personas.
Last up is ‘Horizon’ with its undertones of reggae and dub, post punk (Gang of Four/ Pop Group) vocals and almost ‘War of the Worlds’ style guitar. If that sounds like it might be a bit of a mess think again because it all coheres together very well, before it breaks away into something more plangent and melancholic. While this is not my favourite track on the album, it may well be the one that gives me the best idea about what Psychic Lemon is about.
This is a band that are plainly immersed in many kinds of different music, there is a huge amount of different things going on in every track on this album, all of which are executed cogently. This is an album for those who are not precious about genre, but see music for what it is.
This is a really confident and accomplished debut from Psychic Lemon who could go off in any direction next such is the breadth of its music. Never mind holding the front page…let’s have a special supplement!
Psychic Lemon is getting a vinyl release on Drone Rock Records with a limited pressing of 250 copies with 50 of these going directly to the band. There will be two different versions of the record as follows:-
“Psychedelic Lemon” coloured edition (this one)
150 copies pressed with yellow splatter on transparent lemon-yellow vinyl.
Transparent lemon-yellow edition
100 copies pressed on transparent lemon-yellow vinyl