To my knowledge (ie. YouTube’s) there are a total of two clips of live Psyche Tongues footage on the internet. One is thirty seconds of them playing in what appears to be the kitchen of a small apartment. Seeing as how there are five members in Psyche Tongues, it is incredibly cramped. The band is gleefully cranking out something that sounds a lot like The Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray”, the few visible people that I guess you could call “the crowd” are super into it, and it’s the most fun footage of a band I’ve seen in a long time. The other clip features them playing “Pulsar // Halo” – the leadoff track of their new EP Flavour Canyon – in a venue not much bigger than that kitchen, and they have that same energy plus an ecstatic tambourine player who is having a better time than you or I will ever know.
Besides making me really want to catch the next Psyche Tongues show, it tells you something about them that the music on Flavour Canyon re-affirms: this is a group with a genuinely infectious sense of wide-eyed discovery to them. And seeing as how this is a group of guys that actually go so far as to call themselves a “psychedelic rock band” – a pretty boldly goofy thing to go telling people in the year 2013 – that’s important.
So many indie rock bands chase the neo-psychedelic Nuggets garage-rock template, and so few of them do anything with it besides aim to trigger that exact recognitory response in whatever nerd happens to have stumbled upon their shitty tape. Like any highly stylized and accessibly timeless aesthetic, it’s very easy to superficially duplicate, and thusly, when a band lands in that kind of sonic ballpark, I imagine it’s fairly easy to think that what you’ve made is good because it feels and sounds enough like something else that is good. And obviously, those are pretty different accomplishments. However, this is exactly why Flavour Canyon succeeds where so many like-minded bands go limp. They’re clearly enamored with late-sixties freak-rock, but they don’t allow it to be a limitation.
Songs like “Eat Yer Maker” and “Pulsar // Halo” have an ambitious immediacy to them that is truer in spirit to Psyche Tongues’ forefathers than most of their peers while simultaneously managing to avoid sounding like they’re trying that hard to sound like anybody but themselves. It’s easy to forget how rare it is to come across music that conveys a genuine sense of sincere enthusiasm, but Psyche Tongues are the kind of band that reminds you. Roll on down to Flavour Canyon, it’s a trip worth taking, man.
Flavour Canyon is available on Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “Pulsar // Halo”, “Eat Yer Maker”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)