Psychedelic Horseshit Laced(Fat Cat) Buy it from Insound
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. In short, it becomes essential to manually separate the trash from the gold here, and the liberal sprinkling of seemingly-pretentious passages make Laced a difficult album to connect to emotionally.
Puff, a noisy experiment filled with glitches and uneven thumps serving as percussion flows into Time of Day, a Britpop sounding song – probably single-worthy – as the vocalist adopts a coarse seesaw pattern in his delivery with cheesy synths laying the foundation behind him. The band prides itself in experimenting with noise-pop in a distinctive lo-fi production format for reasons best known to them – street cred could be one of them. However, they are forever towing the line between taking artistic liberties and taking themselves too seriously and turning into self-parodies. The track list seems to follow a very recognizable structure of noisy experimental song filled with plucking sounds that resonate too loudly and drums that clang a bit too much, followed by poppier song with lesser noise and a semblance of structure and arrangement and repeat, for the first half of the album.
There are elements – on Tropical Vision and Making Out – which are noticeably derived from Indian music, with tabla or dholak grooves and melodic arrangements that sound partially inspired by Bollywood, which came as a surprise to this writer (who happens to hail from the very land of Bollywood). But the band seems clear about their intentions to be as far from subtle as possible and yet attempt what can only be termed as a slightly lower form of high art with their forays into electronic beats and glitches, synths, voice samples, and African or Indian sounding instruments, among other things. On top of that, the vocalist’s coarse and one-dimensional singsong delivery requires some getting used to. He does have an ear for odd melodies though, as he showcases, in between dissonance and too-loud drums, on Revolution Waters, probably the high point on an album that often promises something special, only rarely matching up to its own ambition.
Laced is a complete clusterfuck at the best of times, but to be fair, Pyschedelic Horseshit have pioneered this very sound, and right from the off, they make absolutely no bones about being abrasive. It’s almost as if they are taunting the listener to find the crystal raindrops hidden in the muddy rainwater; it’s a challenging album if nothing else.31 May, 2011 - 11:26 — Akhil Sood