Psychic Ills – Hazed Dream (2011)

When you are facing a band called the “Psychic Ills,” you should probably assume that they are going to provide you with a dozen garbled tracks that can only be comprehensibly heard or even minimally understood when you are under the influence of acid, or something to equivalent effect. You should assume that setting aside an afternoon of driving roughly two-hundred miles stone cold sober and bored would be an awful time to listen to said band (again, called “Psychic Ills”). There are a lot of things I should have assumed before I listened to Hazed Dream (by, yes, Psychic Ills) on my way back this past weekend, but I didn’t assume anything and figured “what the hell? I’ve got time.”

The closest I came to tripping out that afternoon was drinking a diet Pepsi Max, so, sufficed to say, I wasn’t occupying the desired demographic. I still thought the opening song was pretty cool. “Midnight Man” has a heavy guitar softly lashing out some power chord strums and come-and-go high-pitched solos as a breathy lead singer whispers his lines behind some white noise. It sounds a little crazy, but it’s actually a pretty cool song… sober or not. The good news, of course, is that if you like “Midnight Man,” Psychic Ills was nice enough to make an album with ten other songs that sound just like it. Always the slow strumming out of power cords, the trippy high-pitched guitar beats, more whispered vocals, and a psychedelic organ keeping some degree of stability over the tracks. I’d love to tell you which one was my favorite, but not only did I have a hard time telling which song was which, but I couldn’t really even tell when songs were beginning or ending altogether. Hopefully those of you reading have access to something that can make sense of all this 😉

Sorry that this seems like a cheap short review, but I really don’t know what else there is to say. He always sings so quietly or jumbled to the point that I never caught one word of what he was saying. I’m sure there’s a songbook out there somewhere with all of the lyrics written, I’m just not sure I’m interested enough in what it had to say. In terms of variation on the songs, I’m sure they made some subtle changes that I didn’t notice, but I swear to you that every song follows the organ-strumming-brief shredding-strumming-hushed vocals-groove out format. I’m glad they enjoyed it. I’m sure spaced out college kids eat this shit up. I just don’t happen to be one of them.

The album ends with the (get this) organ-driven distorted-guitar piece, “Same Old Song.” I couldn’t even tell if they were being coy with this, or if they were so far out, that they didn’t even notice, man. It also doesn’t help when your lead singer sounds like he always about one breath away from passing out. I’d love to give a positive review or recommendation, but I can’t condone drug use that openly.

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