Magic Castles - Starflower

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:2015-09-04

This is the third album from Jason Edmonds and assorted friends that gather round him. Magic Castles doesn’t fall far from their spiritual ancestral tree, as Brian Jonestown Massacre front man Anton Newcombe has released all of them. So you have an idea what you’re in for, and it is very good indeed.

Like Newcombe, Edmonds plays most of the instruments and writes all the songs, so this is pretty much a 'band' in name only. His songs also have that swaying, head-nodding quality that Newcombe has inspired in everyone from Kingdom of the Holy Sun and Jesus on Heroin to Rancho Relaxo, Chatham Rise, Tales of Murder and Lust, The Blue Angel Lounge, and about 200 other disciples. Easy on the ears, the simple melodies are the seeds for occasional solos that make good use of his effects pedals, but he always reins them in before they threaten to swallow the tune in a blaze of wankery.

           The instrumental ‘Moon Dust’ delivers a dusty, Old West vibe like something that fell off the soundtrack to season one of True Detective and may please Handsome Family fans. More vigorous guitar pyrotechnics straddle ‘Hollow Moon’ and the hallucinogenic juices are running rampant through the mellow, junkie nod of the Spacemen 3 groovefest, ‘Lost In Space’.

           The Raveonettes seems to be another dark psych influence on the strength of the dreamy pop psych of ‘See Her Eyes In The Sky’. Swirling Farfisas grace ‘She Wore Lilacs In Her Hair’, which also boasts a dark, Gothic strain (and guitar stylings) of The Cure’s Robert Smith and even Beatles fans in love with their rare, instrumental flights of fancy (cf., ‘Flying’) will groove to the playful, floating instrumental ‘Samara’!

So there’s a little for psych heads of all tastes and a lot to like for anyone who appreciates softer psych intonations with a distinct pop sheen. Enough to make this reviewer dig up their earlier releases, and that’s always a good sign.

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