The Freak Scene
Psychedelic Psoul


4.0
excellent

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
December 31st, 2012 | 21 replies | 1,876 views


Release Date: 1967 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Can you pass the acid test?

Psychedelia wasn't just a style of music in the late 1960s, it was a way of life. A variety of followers, both young and old, relinquished their past beliefs, particularly the Christian orthodoxes that had become the embodiment of western ideology, to baptize themselves with new and exotic philosophies. Looking out to advocates like writers Ken Kesey and Timothy Leary, and especially musicians, for guidance through their own road to enlightenment. Music became the primary medium that allowed psychedelia to be preached to the masses. The ideals and fashions that artists of the time expressed in their songs managed to surpass beyond their vinyl scriptures, and influenced an entire generation. From exploring metaphysical realities through mind-altering drugs, to even practicing eastern religions and looking at life in a more existential point-of-view, psychedelia grew to become a trend like no other.

If there is any album that could give you a glimpse of what the 1960s psychedelic movement was all about, both in its musical aesthetic and lyrical message, Psychedelic Psoul would be that medium. Though sadly, it's one of the least engaging releases of the era. Flagship albums like The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Pink Floyd's The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, accurately captured the anomalous style of the genre as well as the changing social mores of the 1960s in a manner that has managed to age gracefully throughout time, but they didn't really exploit the spiritual side of psychedelia, the yearning for a universal oneness that was influenced by Indian mysticism. Of course, George Harrison certainly adapted these themes into his own occasional contributions with The Beatles, but Psychedelic Psoul is one of the first albums to do so explicitly throughout its entirety. And that may perhaps be one of the reasons why Psychedelic Psoul isn't as accessible today, as say, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It doesn't explore any other themes within its music, focusing solely on transcendental thematics, thus making the album relevant only in its era, and that era alone. Psychedelic Psoul was meant to relate to the wandering youth of the time who were looking for some guidance among the social revolutions that were taking place all around them. So for us today, the album will certainly feel a bit out-of-date. But to all of those nostalgic enthusiasts of the 1960s music scene, you may find that this album offers exactly the kind of cosmic trip you've been looking for.

As I've mentioned before, Psychedelic Psoul is the epitome of the classic psychedelic album. The opening piece, "A Million Grains of Sand", depicts the various idiosyncrasies of the genre. The song exudes a very mystical atmosphere, as its music surounds us in an elaborate and expressive display of trancing melodies. Aside from their usage of exotic percussions and hypnotic tape loops, the most interesting aspect of The Freak Scene's sound is their innovative approach to their guitar productions. Throughout the album, and most prominent in songs like "My Rainbow Life", the band manipulates the expels of the guitar through an engineering technique that replicates the sound dynamics of a sitar, giving the album its raga-influenced sound. The most imminent highlight of the album is certainly "My Rainbow Life", and the reason for it is the cosmic aura that it tends to radiate. The raga influence is at its most conspicuous here, which is particularly incited from its unique guitar work. Along with the repetitive sitar-like arrangement that makes up the primary melodic theme, there is an echoing drone that fluctuates in the background, releasing a discordant haze of resonance that is meant to mimic the sound of a tambura. A lot of the songs in Psychedelic Psoul often express the theme of consciousness expansion, specifically referencing the detachment from reality that one experiences under the trance of psychoactive drugs. That moment in which our third eye is open, enabling us to perceive realities and understandings that are utterly external from ourselves. Discovering dimensions and capabilities within our mind that seem to be nonexistence under any other situation.

As the album progresses, we seem to be exposed to more and more peculiarities with each passing song. "Watered Down Souls" and "Grok!" are perhaps the two most erratically composed tracks in the album. "Watered Down Souls" is, for the most part, a rather traditional rock song, but what makes it so unique is that it makes prominent usage of aquatic audio samples that help add a trippy vibe to the music. A characteristic that would soon become a recurring cliché within the psychedelic genre. "Grok!", on the other hand, is an instrumental piece that can only be described as an eccentric frenzy of cosmic sounds. Disorienting tape loops, shimmering noises, and tribalistic percussions- this song, much like the album that embodies it, is a short-lived spectacle of musical whimsicality. Though among all of the oddities that comprise Psychedelic Psoul, there are a few songs that favor a more traditional approach. "The Center Of My Soul", for example, reflects the popular blues-rock style that many artists of the time were dwelling into, while "Red Roses Will Weep", a gloomy acoustic piece, incorporates a strong influence from Baroque pop. And as engaging as these songs may be, The Freak Scene are at the peak of their ingenuity when they stick to their raga embellished nature, much like that in the spiritual journey that is "Rose of Smiling Faces". Psychedelic Psoul was the one and only album by The Freak Scene, and still remains as the most well-conceived musical endeavor that lead songwriter Rusty Evans ever embarked on. Though rather narrow-minded within its content, the album provides some of psychedelia's earliest and finest pieces of music. But nevertheless, there is very little lasting appeal for anyone who isn't a modern day Hippie.



Recent reviews by this author
Broken Bells After The DiscoSound and Fury (FI) Pulsacion
Jail Weddings Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular EmotionChick Corea The Vigil
Pond (AUS) Hobo RocketBlack Sabbath 13
user ratings (3)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2012



4383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I Hope you guys like the album and review. I wanted to upload this quick before I had to go to a New Years party tonight. I'll respond when I get home. Here's some links to songs, enjoy!

"My Rainbow Life"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bHITJNY7rA

"A Millions Grains Of Sand"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkGKmkyNWdU

"Rose Of Smiling Faces"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKtJKhkTcfo

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2012



4383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Skeletor. Very kind of you to say.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2012



4383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, you have to review a lot of new releases (something I really had to step up on), and also just do your best with your writing. Do this for a while, and eventually you start to standout making your chances of getting promoted all the greater.

Calc
December 31st 2012



12036 Comments


nice job paperback :] have a good time at your party.

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2012



3347 Comments


Great job as always Mr...Campbell? STOP CHANGING THINGS. Listening to "A Million Grains Of Sand" right now and it's everything you say it is - I can safely say that psychedelica is really, really cool and you do a good job capturing it. One minor mistake is that your second sentence in the review is a fragment, but otherwise have a pos!

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2012



3347 Comments


And I WANNA BE A CONTRIB WAAAAAHHHH

Although it would be nice

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



4383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@BrostepGuy
My last name is McKennan-Campbell, and though I've often gone by McKennan alone, I've decided to start using my father's name (the latter) more for my writing.

As for a contributor promotion, the site is always keeping their eyes on the writers and looking at who to promote. I know you write for MD and you're good writer so you might get a nod. Just keep your eyes open for the next contributor scouting.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2013



6942 Comments


Good review man, i got a couple of questions for you if you got dome dpsre tome.
Maybe with the new year things will get a. push and hopefully i get the thumbs up.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2013



6942 Comments


* got some time.

CaptainDooRight
January 1st 2013



28360 Comments


That first paragraph is so money, great job and the rest flows really well

an easy pos

gotta check this for sure

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

thewhiteknight
January 1st 2013



10 Comments


Classic

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



5921 Comments


Listened to the links, really weird and interesting stuff.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2013



15802 Comments


great review pos, will give it a listen

Digging: Synaesthesia (UK) - Synaesthesia

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2013



20036 Comments


This sounds like something I'd dig, will definitely check it out. Great review as always, pos'd.

CaptainDooRight
January 1st 2013



28360 Comments


I tried all 3 of the links from my phone and none of them worked so ill have to wait till I get to a pc to listen

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



4383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hope you guys like this, it was worth getting I think. And yeah, Voivod, the raga sound of it really gives it a cosmic feel to the sound.

@IpodMastery
What were your questions?

YoYoMancuso
January 3rd 2013



10890 Comments


Where in the name of LSD do you find all these awesome records, Hernan?

CaptainDooRight
January 3rd 2013



28360 Comments


when one is true, truth is attracted like maganacks

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2013



4383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@YoYo
My parents were really into the hippie movement during college, they had a huge collection of early psychedelic and prog rock albums that they gave to me. So yeah, I inherited their taste for weird music.

Tyrael
January 4th 2013



20742 Comments


Won't be long before they make you staff dude

great job, once again



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy