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Psychedelic Horseshit - Magic Flowers Droned

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Artist: Psychedelic Horseshit

Album: Magic Flowers Droned

Label: Siltbreeze

Review date: Oct. 19, 2007

This Columbus, Ohio trio, according to the given story, got together on a lark to crash a hippie jam and conjured their name on a spur of the moment request. Despite that, the name does somehow fit, for both better and worse. While the 13 songs on Magic Flowers Droned tend to keep things brief, the shit can’t help but stink after a while.

The first warning, for those who care about such things, is that this album sounds as though it was recorded by placing a hand-held in the corner of the room and hitting the red button. It's all suffused with a tinny sort of distortion, imbalance, and generally thin sound. Now, I'm certainly not calling for high-end studio slickness here – but I've gotten and heard far better recordings from a used cassette 4-track. Given how easy it is these days for anyone to get at least a halfway decent recording done, an album like this is clearly the result of simply not caring about the sound. Perhaps it suits the devil-may-care attitude of the music, but at the same time it's impossible not to ask, if the band clearly didn't care about the album, why should we?

But moving on, the songs themselves resonate with substantial energy despite the lackluster recording and reveal a trio jamming out from a foundation of garage-punk anarchy and post-punk non-structure. With more than a little infusion from the Fall, some PiL, and some free/noise diet a la Magik Markers and Harry Pussy, Psychedelic Horseshit come out with a set of initial songs that are pretty bracing. "Nothing is Revealed" actual reveals a fair amount: sharp, ringing guitar; yelped vocals; hollow-sounding drum thwak; and a generally sloppy rock'n'roll spew. Good fun. "Portals" reins things in a bit and brings the organ to the front with the sing-song vocals, Sonic Youth style. "New Wave Hippies" does in fact make me think of Blondie, with nicely slashing guitar interference.

From there, though, things stumble a bit with a series of short, chaotic songs that lack cohesion and the longer "Bad Vibrations," which, yes, does descend into a pseudo-ironic appropriation of the Beach Boys. It'll either annoy you or tickle you depending on your hip stance, I expect.

The album never quite regains the high marks reached by the opening songs, as pieces like "Radar Fences Again" dwell in guitar scree, yowling vocals and seizure-style drumming. The songs feel randomly tossed off, degenerating into noisy anarchy when the ideas run out. After the stereo-separated song-on-song battle of "Mash Up" barely works, "What's in Store" concludes the album with a return to form, its ponderous rhythm-scrape and sing-song vocals interrupted by an abrasive and well-placed guitar.

Given the strength of the better songs here, Psychedelic Horseshit demonstrate that they're able to bring the noise and target the attack in a pretty potent fashion when the notion strikes them. If the album were more consistent, it might be the year's half hour-long high mark in scum rock. As it is, there's still some powerful listening to be had.

By Mason Jones

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