Words: Jay Williams (@jaywilliamspr)
If proof were needed that ‘desert rock’ – as the genre has been lazily entitled – is a state of mind rather than a state of, say, Southern California, then it comes in the opening minute of the third track of Psychlona’s debut album Mojo Rising; “Down in the vall-EH,” announces singer Phil Hey, proudly stamping Bradford well and truly onto the map.
There’s nothing remotely sun-kissed about this album. It’s a gas-guzzling dumper truck bearing an unholy payload of kebab-, beer- and whisky-fuelled fuzz filth through the stoner landscape, taking no passengers and stopping only for diesel and dirty burgers.
Mojo Rising is for you if your thing embraces Hawkwind, early Sabbath and latter day pilgrims like Kyuss and Fu Manchu. The grooves are deep and hard-worn but they flow from the get-go, opening track Stone setting out their manifesto in just under six minutes. Ride continues in similar tone but a slightly quicker pace, evoking classic Hawkwind. Suffice to say that Lemmy would have dug this. Track three Down In The Valley dials it down again. This is the single, and its apocalyptic fuzz is accompanied with a suitably saturated home-made video featuring live performance and grainy archive clips of nuclear tests, cowboys and vampires – what’s not to like??
Big River runs slow/fast/slow and is scarred by a brilliantly demented wah-wah solo. Your God begins with a minute of sludge before cranking up more wah-riffs to punk speed and delivering an impassioned anti- organised religion polemic – a welcome message in these troubled times. Juju is excellent, all punishing riffs and filler-drenched vocals, Black Dog summons up the spirit of early 70s Sabbath (by the way, where do I get that t-shirt worn by Phil, which proclaims simply HEAVY METAL – 1970 – BIRMINGHAM ?) and the brilliantly titled Beakfoot brings proceedings to a close – although there is a secret track called Burning Cave, which I couldn’t access via the Bandcamp download, although that may be due to fuckwittery on my part. I have to ask though, when are Bandcamp going to facilitate downloads onto phones? Vinyl is excellent obviously, but you can’t take a record player on the chuffing tube in the morning, can you? And this album is great to tackle the commuter crowds to.
Mojo Rising is already available on digital and CD via the wonderful Ripple Records and via http://psychlona.bandcamp.com/. It’s released on vinyl on Cursed Tongue Records on 30th November.