Rafi Bookstaber - Late Summer

by Jeff Penczak Rating:3 Release Date:2016-07-17

The prolific Bookstaber (Death Chants, Aswara, Mendocino, Von Himmel. The Humito label) returns with another eclectic collection (eclection?) of folky acid psych (or is that psychy acid folk?) for avant gourmandisers. There’s the Hawaiian dreamscape of opener ‘We Can Find A Way’ that intoxicates while it frustrates by drowning a beautiful, laidback melody in a barrage of lo-fi (Ra-fi?) arrangements and production that sounds like it was recorded under water with Rafi singing through a can of tuna fish. In fact, ‘Ocean Above You’ almost gives the game away! It’s not exactly ‘The Porpoise Song’, but it’s pretty close.

‘You Get High’ is self-explanatory (and self-exploratory). It’s your own trip, man, but maybe stepping up closer to the mic and taking the cotton out of your mouth when you sing might help us understand what you’re on about. And I’m getting pretty sick of this lo-fi crap masquerading as art, man. It all sounds like he hung a microphone out the window and recorded some band practicing in the carpark. Yuck.

Rafi seems to have discovered the echo button for ‘In The Shade’ and wah-wah intoxication will never be the same; it’s like an unintelligible David Lynch...and I don’t mean his movies. As Uncle Lou opined, “valium would have helped that bash,” but I’m afraid this already sounds like I’m listening to an mp3 at the wrong speed (is that even possible?) At least ‘Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain’ has that Quaaluded On The Beach vibe that somewhat addresses the album’s title, but the whole thing’s such a fucking depressing downer that it might scare me away from the beach for the rest of the summer. Only the hypnotic, raga jam 'Make Up Yr Mind' saves it from a total car crash, and even that cuts off before it finishes.

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