Psychedelia has been a spiritual and creative beacon for generations of Australian artists. Through the ‘60s and the 1980s. But especially now.
It feels like in the last five years or so it’s been a matter of course. A coming of age thing. Wherever a group or four or more middle-class guys jam together on guitars invariably there springs a psychedelic band. Well not always, but at the very least an album or a phase.
But with no shortage of torchbearers, there’s a greater impetus to serve the exceptional. Music which doesn’t just mine a contemporary take on the past but bursts outward in paisley Technicolor. Okay, it doesn’t have to push boundaries, psychedelia was always something more than that. An all-important feeling.
A garage band under the love spell of sixties rock, The Jim Mitchells are touching into this. The Sydney outfit have pulled together eight cuts of lysergic and jangling pop. ‘(Let Them All In)’ kicks off the slow march. There’s definitely some spark of the Revolver’s Fab Four or Satanic’s Stones feeding the fire. Perhaps filtered through the head of Kevin Parker, David Roback or Anton Newton.
‘Ankle Deep’ rocks along an Allah-Lahs axis while ‘We’re Up High’ continues the sashay into sunshine sound. The group throw some interesting guitar lines over their daydreaming rhythms. It all swirls in an aural floss of production, before cutting into the spacey organ grind of ‘Easy Love’. ‘Got To Believe’ shades things with an r&b groove before ‘(…She’s Why)’ sends the album drifting to its gently ebbing conclusion.
This outfit delivers well-constructed psych and it’s their light touch which wins them the day. Hypnotic arrives custom-made to pull the Heads. Yet it retains enough energy and pop sensibility to spill into the ears of those not wholly given to period worship.
The other day I was worried about psych. While still creating in the spirit, the Tame Impala family continues to move away from it sonically. In their vacuum, King Gizzard and The Babe Rainbow picked up the slack and more than a few of the fans. But perhaps not much of the hip cache. The movement has fallen out a little from the mania conjured post Interspeaker. Currents could very well have been the peak.
2018 has been a little quiet. But then listening to Love Hypnotic suggests maybe Australian music isn’t in a need of another jolt from the top as much as one from the bottom. If it does come it has to be someone delving deeply into the spirit. True believers.
I’m not sure if this record, for all its strengths, is there. But hey, this band. Maybe they could be the ones.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald