Psychic Baggage: Psychic Baggage
Endless Melt (2010)
I’m a fan of random guitar noodling….when it’s done well. And when the guy at Missing Link Records with the waist length hair, scraggly beard and endless wardrobe of Grindcore band t-shirts says that this particular noodly guitar record is a good listen, well than it must be worth checking out.
I picked up Psychic Baggage based on an interesting review on Cyclic Defrost and the cool stoner cover art. The band itself is actually one man, Duncan Blachford formerly of Tasmania but more recently of Melbourne based bands Witch Hats, Snawklor and Rubbish Throwers. I’ve heard all these names before but am totally unfamiliar with their music. Apparently Psychic Baggage sits somewhere just to the left of all those bands. Oh, and Blachford plays pretty much every instrument under the Psychic Baggage moniker.
This is smoky, improvised music for late nights in lamp lit rooms. Echoey guitar, sparse drumming and the occasional saxaphone make up the entire palette here. It’s like the last four or five of those SYR ‘records’ that Sonic Youth self released, but far less discordant or challenging. Kind of Mogwai-ish without the distortion and lots of free-jazz drumming. Bohren and der Club of Gore come to mind as well. There’s little in the way of resolution on these tracks, instead they drift along in a dream-like fashion, blowing smoke rings around one or two motifs per ‘song’.
Free Sunshine kicks things off on an abstract note, with clashing guitar licks and nonsense drum patterns that create an uneasy atmosphere. Drums Meet Guitar has a slinky quality about it where loping guitar lines and suave, jazz infused rhythms come across like a piece of film noir rinsed in Ketamine. But my personal favourite is Sick in Memphis, which opens with a dusty, Western sounding guitar that is slowly consumed by a torrential drone that rattles around angrily before receding back into the opening six-string lick. It’s an absolute corker that track, and worth the $15 bucks for this disc alone.
I can’t gush and ooh and ahh about Psychic Baggage because over all it isn’t mind blowing. However, it isn’t without its charms. There’s something pleasant about its unobtrusiveness, and its ability to be experimental without being brash. If, like me, you can handle a little guitar noodling from time to time, you could do far worse than listen to this.