This is Psychic Ills first release since ‘One More Time’, one of my favourite albums of its time and one that helped me cement my love of all things ‘psych’. It was an album that had a beautifully lugubrious approach, so laid back yet with some real bite too it. ‘FBI’, in particular is a one of my go-to tracks when I want to really chill out despite, or perhaps because of, its sinister undertones. It was with this background, therefore, that I approached ‘Inner Journey Out’. As the title suggests this album is lyrically about our internal and external lives, and the transition between the two.
I must admit that when I initially heard this album I didn’t get it at all, I really didn’t connect with it. However, I felt that I could not readily dismiss the band that brought out ‘One More Time’ let alone the other albums that I have enjoyed, such as ‘Dins’ and ‘Hazed Dream’. It might have been put of by the country feel on lead track ‘I Don’t Mind’, even if it does feature Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. It might also have been because much of what I listen to these days is so much more heavy and dense than this album.
After several listens, however, ‘Inner Journey Out’ is beginning to win me over. I’m gradually tuning in again to the different speed of Psychic Ills, slowing down to appreciate the detail and nuance that is obviously present in this record. Basically, then, you have to give this album time to bed in to fully appreciate Tres Warren’s soft growl and soporific guitar and Elizabeth Hart’s cohesive bass; only then can you begin to explore this records treasure as the signature Psychic Ills sound is more adventurously combined with country, gospel (‘New Mantra’), classic Dylan (‘Coca Cola Blues’), jazz (‘RA Wah Wah’) and many others. Underneath this are some other great musical flourishes most notably for me Brent Cordero’s work on Farsifa and Wurlitzer organs which, more than ever, add tone and texture; filling in space sparingly and effectively.
Getting to know ‘Inner Journey Out’ is something of a journey in itself. For me it started off feeling fairly bland, yet as I listened to it more and more I came to realise that it gives up its secrets slowly. It is an album that, like its tempo, gradually creeps up on you. It is an album that keeps Psychic Ills firmly within laid back psych, but provides the opportunity for us to explore other musical ideas in a way that is far from being in your face…while at the same time making a pretty compelling argument for doing so.
‘Inner Journey Out’ in released by Sacred Bones Records on 3rd June 2016.