Release Date: May 10, 2011
Record label: Fat Cat
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Noise Pop
Dissatisfied with the “shitgaze” sound that they helped establish, Psychedelic Horseshit get wildly experimental on Laced. Instead of thriving in their usual fuzzy, brittle environment of distortion, Matt Whitehurst, Ryan Jewell, and Rich Johnston clean up their act and go the cosmic route with dubby electronic sounds recorded straight to a ‘70s reel-to-reel machine. Everything is still purposely half-assed and ramshackle, but crisp percussion is the basis -- much like Black Dice’s Repo, Growing’s Pumps!, or even aspects of Ween’s Pure Guava -- full of analog synths, drum machines, samplers, and weirdo sounds that are rendered indecipherable and sliced and diced in time.
Let’s face it, if Matt Whitehurst had a plan, playing the game would never be part of it. Having spent the last six years heaving up a bile of grubby-pawed guitars and rat-gnarled melodies under the censor inflaming Psychedelic Horseshit banner, the Ohio dwelling enigma carries more hostility than an Al-Qaeida recruitment rally in a New York City fire department. At times, he’s probably just as popular.
So many bands have recently taken steps away from their lo-fi roots-- Ariel Pink, Vivian Girls, Times New Viking-- that tape-hiss diehards probably wonder if anyone will actually stick to their scuzzy guns. Those fearful might look to self-proclaimed "shitgazers" Psychedelic Horseshit as the last line of defense. If even these snotty shamblers are willing to wipe their noses and tuck in their shirts, then maybe lo-fi is just this generation's musical training wheels.
Matt Whitehurst isn’t raising the bar for noise with his umpteenth release, but at least he’s articulate. Sounding like rotting Americana, the bulk of [b]‘Laced’[/b] is really a blues album cut up with grime beats, techno horns, white noise, Syrian midi keys and ambient synths coated in typically washed-out hypnagogic-pop style; we’ve been here before.Where this album stands out, however, is in its unambiguous lyrics: “Everything in this world is laced”. Noise music has been content to let its harsh aesthetics do the talking alone for too long; with [b]‘Laced’[/b], Whitehurst has challenged that paradigm.Huw NesbittOrder a copy of Psychedelic Horseshit’s ‘Laced’ from Amazon .
Bands that get lumped into (or who willingly adopt) the category of lo-fi always run the risk of being called out if they ever get less noisy—whether or not the noise actually has anything to do with the production value. It’s a version of the old punk conundrum of selling out. Recently, the lo-fi moniker has been a badge of hipster status, and we’ve seen plenty of those so-called lo-fi bands go “clean.” Psychedelic Horseshit are part of the lo-fi brigade, but not without ambivalence.
If ambition of design were to take precedence over tangible results, Laced would be a great album. It is an elaborate attempt at uniting heavy-handed artistic endeavours through exotic instrumentation and experimental sounds, with a lo-fi crass, lifelike production, giving it the feel of a bold art exhibit found lying on the sidewalk of a dirty street infested with lowly people, as opposed to a quaint art gallery. But the final outcome (the actual music itself) falls some way short of realization of the band’s illustrious vision.