Near-death experience inspires thrilling third album
Psychic Markers’ self-titled third LP delves into themes of human nature and mortality while taking us on an atmospheric storm riding journey.
The opener, ‘Where Is The Prize’, gives the impression that we’re set for a ride through a dystopian landscape seen through the eyes of someone on a bad trip. There’s an ominous bass line, sinister vocals and a clock-like rhythmic beat that implies we’re waiting for something unpleasant to happen.
A lot of this is due to the near-death experience the band’s Peter Dove had while on a US road trip. He ended up driving through the swirling vortex of an active sandstorm which made him question his life and provide a lot of the inspiration for the album.
It’s no surprise then that it’s a swirling vortex of sound that greets the listener on the first few tracks of the album and it’s the musical equivalent of heading through a storm before eventually making it out the other side. ‘Silence In The Room’ has a disquieting, eighties-horror movie feel until it teases an uplifting melody later on in the track, managing to change the mood completely.
It’s after the third track, the appropriately titled, pulsating ‘Pulse’ that the mood starts to shift. ‘Enveloping Cycles’ is much brighter, like hitting the eye of the storm and finding a gentle calm at the centre.
The Doors-esque ‘Sacred Geometry’, takes another dip into psychedelica before gentle guitars begin to take centre stage on the latter part of the record. We’re out of the storm on ‘A Mind Full And Smiling’ and ‘Irrational Idol Thinking’ as the earlier aggressiveness begins to dissipate.
It’s a shame that on some of the tracks, the vocals are often washed away by the amount of other sounds that are going on. This is a largely instrument led album however, and reducing how much the vocals are at the forefront does allow the music to take centre stage.
This isn’t the case on ‘Clouds’ though, an uplifting song about looking at life through the eyes of a child who wants to be taken ‘on a journey please, I’ll sit tight and let you drive’. There’s a real energy to ‘Clouds’, and it manages to combine this with Joy Division-like drum fills and echoing, distorted guitar leads. It’s the most pop-like song on the album and a shift in mood compared to the start of the record.
The final track, ‘Baby It’s Time’ is also a world away from the noisy, baleful openers and we’ve gone from being tossed around and bruised at the beginning of the album to being gently rocked to sleep at its conclusion.
Psychic Markers’ self titled LP is full of confidence. It’s as if they’ve taken elements of Kraftwerk and New Order and managed to blend in a mix of Nick Cave atmosphere with catchy psychedelic grooves. By bringing them together in the way they have on this album, they’ve produced a memorable, original LP that has all the ups and downs of riding out a storm.
Psychic Markers self-titled, third LP is due for release May 29 via Bella Union.