Review Summary: A dense psychedelic fog.
Picture this: you’ve wandered into a forest on a particularly humid day only to realize that the forest is covered a thickly dense fog. Not only is the fog dense, but it’s also incredibly colorful: mostly reds and pinks and oranges maybe a bit of green for some contrast and there’s absolutely no way that you can see your own hands even though they’re right in front of your face. Every few minutes it clears up a little bit, so you begin to run trying to escape all of the confusion only to realize that it returns to its dense state causing you to get lost again. Eventually you give up trying to escape the forest and sit down right in the center of it all only to realize that this fog is the essence of The Red Krayola’s debut The Parable of Arable Land.
The dense fog takes it’s form as 7 different “Free Form Freak-Out” tracks consisting of directionless jams with pounding drums, distorted guitars, and strange whistling sounds. This is to no fault however since their purpose is to envelop the listener with thick psychedelic soundscapes. When it’s time for each “Free Form Freak-Out” to end, they segue seamlessly into a more structured track, most of which are typical psychedelic rock tracks. The one exception is the album’s title track. “Parable of Arable Land” is a strange minimalist piece that builds upon itself and the only track on the album that completely lacks both psychedelic and rock elements - if anything it sounds like it belongs in an experimental minimalistic classical piece. For this reason, it is easily the album’s most standout track. As for the more focused rock tracks, they are all fun listens, but musically fail to be anything particularly mind blowing. What does make them standout are their absurd lyrics. Lyrics such as: "My liquid head open to the rain. I waltz through a bushel and a peck of grain. Hearing in my head a hurricane and speaking to the man about a train" from "Transparent Radiation" create ideas almost as dense and puzzling as the “Free Form Freak-Outs” sound. However, it seems as though The Red Krayola are at their best on their directionless instrumentals, which is actually rather strange when compared to other artists in the psychedelic rock community.
The fog disappears as the album’s closer “Former Reflections Enduring Doubt” gently guides you out of the forest only for you to realize that you would gladly re-enter the forest many times again. “I can't remember what they were saying. They started to speak they were here. There was a flower. Well come closer, closer to me.”
The Parable of Arable Land is a best experienced as a whole due to it’s immaculate ability of flow from one track to the next as if it were one large song with different sections. Anyone who is interested in the more experimental side of 60s psychedelic music should give it a try since it’s an ambitious, incredibly hazy, fun relic -even if it has incredibly dated sound quality.
Album Highlights: “Free Form Freak-Out” (all 7), “Hurricane Fighter Plane”, “Parable of Arable Land”