The Lucid Dream - The Lucid Dream

by Jeff Penczak Rating:7 Release Date:2015-04-05

These BBC 6 Music darlings return with an eponymous sophomore long-player, building on the strong interest garnered by last year’s ‘Momentum’ and ‘Unchained’ singles, both included here. The Spacemen 3-worshipping Cumbrian quartet (who nicked their name from a Verve lyric) established their modus operandi early on via acid-eating head-charmers with titles like ‘Hits Me Like I’m Stoned’ and ‘Love in My Veins’, and have covered obscure cult psychers Factory.

So you know what you’re in for before you even plops your money down. And if opener ‘Mona Lisa’ suggests they’ve been dumpster-diving for remnants of Jason Pierce and Sonic Boom’s refried brain-cells, then boy howdy, hot damn, sign me up! Turn the vibrato up to 11 and set the cerebellum on stun, it’s gonna be a long, strange trip.

I could go on and drop names like Syd Barrett dropped acid (Jesus & Mary Chain, Velvet Underground, Loop, Sundial – you get the picture), but the fact is these kids have studied their psychedelic record history and cherry-picked the best of what their forefathers laid out for them. They’ve even scoped out the motorific brain-rattlers emanating from the 70s Krautrock labs of Can and Neu!, and NY underground sonic commandos, Suicide, to pepper their onslaught with more exotic flavours (witness the off-the-wall, abrasive attack of ‘Cold Killer’ and the self-explanatory ‘Head Musik’).

On the downside, the unnecessary dub version of ‘Unchained’ is pure, Faust-ian filler (and even worse than the original, itself a half-baked loop of nonsense in search of a musical identity). And speaking of loop-y nonsense, the seven minutes of unintelligible feedback I endured via the failed Sonic Youth tribute (’Morning Breeze’) proves that Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music is still an unlistenable piece of shit 40 years later, no matter how many new generations of ax-wielding kids think it’s cool to fuck with the establishment’s sense of what is music and what is noise. Take it from me: never those twains shall meet.

But all is salvaged from the also-ran graveyard with the closing molasses drip of ‘You & I’, which begs for a Hope Sandoval vocal to complement its Slowdive-meets-Brian Jonestown Massacre treacle toffee tumble. Geez, guys, can’t any of your girlfriends sing? 

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