This mini album is the work of San Diego based psychedelic band Volcano. With psychedelia goes colour, and there’s plenty of that here. Even before we’d got through the first track we’d had African rhythms, electric funk and a little section that recalled the 80s eccentric disco artists Was (Not Was). “Polyrhythmic, serpentine, yet highly listenable songs that flow like lava” is how they put it. Yep, I’d go along with that.
On goes this bouncy, funky, weird thang. That rhythm is irresistible and will have the grumpiest grinch toe-tapping and grooving to the vibe. This is fun. Musically it’s up there too. There’s the flamboyant jazzy rock style, and with it many progressively technical twists and turns. I feel better than James Brown. How do you feel? I just can’t get Was (Not Was) out of my head. It’s the caustic delivery of those vocals and the off-the-wall diction. To follow the funky “Naked Prey” and “The Island”, “No Evil Know Demon” goes more deeply retro with the 70s organ leading, but we’re still in this dreamy, funky vibe of being outdoors on a warm, balmy evening with drinks flowing and a few other things being handed round in the spirit of free love and all that. I can’t imagine anyone from Siberia coming up with this stuff. This is far out, San Diego CA. “Recognise the flowers don’t bloom just for you”, advises the chorus leader. A brief eruption – called “Eruption” – takes us into the urban territory of “Skewered”. I could picture an action packed US street at night. It’s like the theme to a TV drama series with a samba beat and psychedelic rock vibe, or is until an African chorus comes in. The hypnotising dance beat goes on, accompanied by distant manic laughter in the background. A magnificent distorted electric guitar solo cuts in, adding to the exotic feel of this pumping heartbeat of a track. That funky rhythm returns, if it ever went away, on “10000 Screaming Souls”. “We’ve got to climb high into the sky”, preaches the new Mr Was. I think he and his pals are already up there. “Let the love flow” is the key message as another sublime guitar solo bewitches us and takes us to that higher place. The bluesy technicality and flow are just impeccable. The Latin style dance rhythm keeps us moving. The Volcano guys chant their message. For a moment we could be in Lesotho. And the beat goes on.
I guess this brought out the inner hippie in me, which I didn’t know was there. “The Island” is summery, it’s warm, it’s exciting, it moves and grooves, and as these Volcano people say themselves, it’s fluid. Oh, and it’s weird and great fun.
(9/10 Andrew Doherty)