Reviewing this was meant to be a groovy experience for me. I purposefully asked for it the week before I flew to the States for Thanksgiving. The plan was for Jess and the Ancient Ones to lift me onto an astral plane as a metal plane lifted me into the sky. In an apt stroke of bad luck I was thwarted by a magic wand. The electro magnetic wand of a Heathrow security officer, which whilst ensuring the safety of my fellow passengers proceeded to wipe my trusty old iPod free of all the pesky aural ditties that had been clogging it up. Hey – this is not a moan about airport security – those guys do a great job and still offer a smile. No this is a cautionary tale that old skool pods don’t like wands. Gutted , Michigan bound Matt sought entertainment elsewhere.
So , now back in Blighty how does this Second Psychedelic Coming sound? In a neon nutshell – Damn Fine. If you have heard their previous eponymously named long player or the splits and singles betwixt that and this you know what to expect, expertly crafted psychedelic bluesy rock incorporating heavy metal grooves and some surf guitar. Quite how this sound comes from Finland rather than Sacramento; Grace Slick only knows.
This time around though the band seem to have matured into their sound and give the tracks time to breathe and get under the skin of the listener with Jess’s epic vocal as strong as ever.
Opener “Samhain” has a real Cramps feel to it with Dick Dale guitar sweeps and a chorus you could chicken dance to. “The Flying Man” is more bluesy and sounds like it should be wailing out of an old VW camper parked on a hill in Woodstock. Much use of baby wah and a soaring vocal by Jess.
The track that drew me into this album is “In Levitating Secret Dreams”. It is a pure frug out reminding me of Jefferson Airlplane and more modern psykers like Witchcraft and Uncle Acid. It is a very rare track that makes me wish I owned a tambourine I can tell you!
“The Equinox Death Trip” carries on where the levitation left off carrying the listener further up into the stratosphere with hints of Southern Death Cult in its swirls and whooshes. The band are showing confidence on this release, both in their playing and in their audience. Ending the collection with a 22 and a half minute track is not the doing of quivering newcomers. More of that that in a moment but first the downbeat “Crossroad Lightning” . A change in tempo but still keeping the feel of its predecessors this desert waltz slinks like a salamander before going off track mid-way through turning into a Fleetwood Mac tribute. Hmmm????
“The Lovers” get’s the tyres back on and gripping the sand. (It bizarrely reminds me of Pixies at their more surfy ) . “Goetia of Love” brings some swing beat into the mix. This would be great to dance to in a drunken haze (hint hint Desertfest) .
So onto the closer “Goodbye to Virgin Grounds Forever” . 22 mins . 35 seconds. For one track. I only have an 8 minute cycle to work . Even if I walk it is only 20 minutes. I would have to walk past my house for a bit and turn round to finish the song (we’ve all done it). However, sometimes you have to give yourself time to really relax into music and put the flashing rectangles down . What Jess and the Ancient Ones have done is finish this album with a proggy star filled wander into the foggy night. It ain’t really my cup of mushroom tea as I prefer some jiggle in my Jetstream but all you Floyd heads out there will dig this.
The Second Psychedelic Coming is a groovesome thing. A trip. A happening. A damn fine album by a band growing in confidence and creativity. Check it out you psychonauts.
(7.5/10 Matt Mason)