Psychic Lemon - Live At The Smokehouse - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Psychic Lemon - Live At The Smokehouse

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2019-04-26
Psychic Lemon - Live At The Smokehouse
Psychic Lemon - Live At The Smokehouse

Psychic Lemon are a Space Rock three-piece from Cambridge.  So far, they have released two albums. Live At The Smokehouse (recorded in Ipswich) is their first live record and contains both new and old tracks.

The first side/half of this album is called The Past and features live versions of three tracks from their Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay album. First up is Interstellar Fuzz Star. Increasing noise introduces the band to the stage before four clicks and a solid rhythm is laid down by Andy Hibberd and Martin Law on bass and drums respectively. They are soon joined by Andy Briston on synths and guitar. They lock into a groove around which noises fly. This is clearly a live recording so separation is minimal. But, the all-in-the red, race to the finish sound reminds me of some of the great Japanese Psych/Noise/Rock warriors like Acid Mother’s Temple and Mainliner. The band’s declared Kosmische/Space Rock influences are also in evidence, particularly Hawkwind and The Heads. All-in-all it’s exactly the kind of thing I like wrapping my head in headphones for. Psychic Lemon move straight into Satori Disko. Arpeggios, feedback and whooshing synth noises lead the way before another mighty beat lands. Hibberd’s bass is huge but used more sparingly, quite like Chris Squire on Close To The Edge. Briston adds a solo to the arpeggio – there must be some looping going on. The track is more subdued than the opener but still a wah-wah drenched belter.  The Past draws to an end with Hey Droog! and the beat intensifies. Another layer of noise is also added from the synth before Briston switches back to the wah-wah. Having never seen them live, I’m imagining some kind of version of James Johnston and Gallon Drunk – the mad dashes between instruments. Amidst violent pounding and ceaseless wah-wahing the track sprints to its conclusion and makes way for The Future. Johnny Marvel At The Milky Way is a tribute to a friend/fan of the band. It is over eleven minutes long and starts out slowly with whirling noise and cymbal hits. The pounding drums and monstrous bass soon wander in, but the pace stays restrained and the song comes from the more tasteful end of Space Rock (ie, not from Ladbroke Grove). There is, however, a storm gathering as the phased sounds build up and Law becomes more expansive on his kit. The basic riff is four, ascending notes that start on synth but are picked up by a slowly wah-wahing guitar. It is ridiculously simple, and all the better for it; the song is all about dynamics. The album finishes (as the future will) with White Light. It’s another brutal pounding, like Stereolab’s French Disko played by High Rise. I imagine scenes of complete abandon on the stage and faces melting in the audience.

Live At The Smokehouse is a huge sound for three men to make. It sounds unmistakeably live but I don’t think that this will bother regulars of this site. The rough edges make for a more brutal listening experience. I like nothing better than being bludgeoned by loud, repetitive, psychedelic music and Psychic Lemon are a welcome addition to my collection of weapons of self-destruction. Total ripper.

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