Release Date: Feb 19, 2013
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock
Psychic Ills’ well-worn groove of fuzzy psychedelia is enough to suffice if you can bring a congruent headspace to the turntable. Best suited to a sunbaked couch or a slow drive through the desert, the Brooklyn trio’s fourth finds itself cozy in the vein of its predecessor, Hazed Dream. Outposts of note are crossed at “Might Take A While” and “Tried To Find It.” Elsewhere, project yourself to one of the Ills’ ripping live shows and ride out the tremolo.
Psychic IllsOne Track Mind[Sacred Bones; 2013]By Zachary Corsa; February 22, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetNew York's Psychic Ills are celebrating ten years as a band in 2013, and along the way they've bridged some interesting waters. From post-punk to psych-drone to touches of ambient synth-pop, there's always been a hint of adventurous questing to the Ills' pursuits, and on their second full-length with Sacred Bones, One Track Mind, they've arrived at a pleasant harbor of 4/4 stoner-blues intersecting seamlessly with Nuggets-esque jams. The results are more than simply pleasing.
Going from their 2003 inception to fourth album One Track Mind ten years later has been a winding road for New York's Psychic Ills. The strung-out experimental electro-drones the band made in its earliest days couldn't sound much more different from the amorphous desert psych of 2011's Hazed Dream, and the damaged but infinitely more accessible songcraft of that album takes a turn for the even more coherent on One Track Mind. The menacing and hypnotic basslines, ghost-town blues, and druggy drifter motifs of the album still have shades of the group's noisy beginnings, but most of the formless doom has been replaced with more traditional expressions of dread.
Psychic Ills have carried the psychedelia tag around with them for some time, and while it might once have been applicable to their work, it’s something that they seem to be shying away from in their latest album. When music is described as psychedelic you expect it to swirl around and twist itself into outlandish patterns and colours, just like those brightly distorted pictures and videos that are apparently intended to roughly signify hallucinogenic experiences. Rather than swirling and twisting, One Track Mind motors and grooves.
This New York outfit, like its inspirations here, shuffles when it used to slam.“One More Time” takes its lazy, jangling time recalling the Velvet Underground to wander down a slower, mellower direction than the group’s earlier assaults. For a case in point, cue up the opener. “See You There” channels a spacier, druggier urban attitude, shared by other bands promoting underground, neo-psychedelic stylings on the faithfully retrospective records from Brooklyn’s Sacred Bones label.
"I found out I never knew where it was going/ And it might take a while," Psychic Ills sing on One Track Mind. For the psych-dabblers (who celebrate their tenth birthday this year), this could have been the mantra all along. Following on from their debut Dins, they spent the next decade playing with different sounds and approaches, all loosely based around a fairly cosmic aesthetic.
Over the last few albums from New York’s Psychic Ills, structured songs have started to crystallize out of the purple fog. The long-form drones have sprouted recognizable patterns, psychedelic sunbathed musings rolling out from their amps. One Track Mind, the group’s fourth LP, continues that trend, receiving some studio streamlining from Royal Trux’s Neil Hagerty.
When Psychic Ills made the move to Sacred Bones, they notably left behind the wildly experimental improvisations that characterized their early albums. In lieu of 10-minute songs and deafening drones, on Hazed Dream, the New York City band transitioned into a more structured state with a stripped-down sound that derives its psychedelia from a dream state rather than through the chaos of improvised jams. The band has taken yet another step toward accessibility on its latest album, opting for a more rock ’n’ roll approach, fit with bluesy guitars, harmonicas and singer Tres Warren’s vocals emerging from the mystifying haze into a more pronounced, Jeff Tweedy-esque vocal showing.