A psychedelic pilgrimage through prophetic, poetic, and profound powerful penmanship in the lyrics and intricate instrumentation. A groovy boogie soundscape that evolves and expands over the course of the album.
The album begins with ‘Kaleidoscopic‘ which is the perfect adjective to sum up the sound of the band. Serving up sonic soundscapes that dance in the known and approachable while having a jagged and fuzzy refracted edge. It is bright and beautiful, but with an artistry that goes into the build.
Next up is ‘Chorus‘ which has a buzzing electricity that shoots sparks through the track that crack right through the speaker. It is a step up in tempo and energy and fleshes out the flavour of the band’s sound. Again the vocals show of a truly spellbinding range but with just a cheeky hint of a robotic tone added in the post-production. There is a monstrous fury in the lead guitar riff on this one that builds into a beastly climax.
If ‘Chorus‘ turned up the volume, then ‘Dimmer Switch‘ is another example of skillful synergy in the titling serves up a much more ambient and softer mood. It allows the lyrics and vocal work to strut forward to the forefront of the track and it is incredibly tender and touching. This is reflected in the musicality and offers an insight into the scope of No Thee No Ess range.
The track melts and merges effortlessly into ‘The Very Best Thing About Summer’. Progressive psychedelia, track 4 is as much an evolution of what came before as it is a song in it’s own right. It keeps the somber and soulful bed but thrashes around in it a little more energetically.
‘Broken Silence‘ continues on in the softer trilogy of songs that make up the ooey gooey centre of the album. This track begins with an airy blue sky energy that slowly over the course of the song builds into something much more heavy with the the threat of thunder by its end.
From the very first note ‘Jazz Hands‘ shatters the blissed out meditative vibe of what came before. Experimental, energetic, and expertly woven instrumentation dances free through the track which is masterful in its musicianship and playful in its power. It introduces a jazzy and exciting edge to the psychofolk that fits in perfectly and lays the framework for the tracks yet to come.
The drum build in the intro of ‘Cascading Eclair‘ is monstrous in nature, it injects a massive energy into the track from the very beginning that ebbs and flows over its course. The bass bubbles with an effervescent fizz that keeps its pop visible at the top of the sound throughout. The vocals go back and forth from a deep and resonant spoken word poeticism and a falsetto high end wobble in the chorus.
‘Consumption‘ has this joyous and jubilant feel good lounge jazz vibe that tickles at its groovy core. There is an addictive and energetic pace to the track that wiggles and wriggles into the heart of the listener. As it progresses and evolves some surf rock elements start to mutate and manifest in the guitar and the power of the track continues to build. The lyrics are playful with the hint of laughter in the delivery of certain lines.
Going back to the wheelhouse of their psychedelic heart ‘Broken Wheel Symphony‘ is a cosmic jam that takes the listener on a trippy trip into outer space. It struts, swaggers, and sidles around in different colours and sumptuously surreal soundscapes that offer a deep look into the depth of the layering and production while also serving up some seriously sexy hooks along the way.
With ‘Sunshine‘ the band continue to deliver a delightful sunny day energy resonating with head bobbing grooves and major chords. The organ that introduced itself on ‘Jazz Hands‘ plays a key role in the boogie that dances through the song. On top of the instrumentation the band layer in some more strange and acid soaked noises to paint a fuzzier but more full sound.
As they did earlier in the album ‘Tailing The Ship‘ emerges fully formed from the foam left on the beach by the crashing wave of the song before. It retains some of the sonic glitter and flashing neon vibes that were woven into the previous track, but lyrically and in instrumentation it serves up a very different track.
‘Wild Prairie‘ is the album’s climax and it is an excellent example of the band’s work serving up many of the sonic staples of the sound. The bass line grabs the listener by the hand and takes them on the hop, skip, and jump into the technicolour adventure through the wild west of this psychedelic journey.
The album is perfectly paced, it begins powerfully with a punch and then draws its arm back and unclenches its fist to show the more tender open hand caress behind it. The production is faultless with a rich layering to every track that gives it a great replay value picking out different sparkling sounds that pepper the sound and often feature in slightly different forms on multiple tracks.
No Thee No Ess are a band that can woo with wistful whispers and wash you away in with the crushing power of crashing weaves. The progression and climax of individual tracks and the album as a whole are earned and the builds are every bit as exciting as the freaky funky ferocity that follows.
Words by Matt Miles