This is the band’s second full-length release and yeah, the Australian trio is ready to do to you whatever they want. The Chats are unapologetically punk and they let you know it before you even listen to their music. The band’s Oi! influence is apparent but it isn’t all-encompassing on Get Fucked (Bargain Bin Records) but it’s there. Most of the songs on this 13-track release are just over the 2-minute mark; the band is in and out, giving you just enough time to get fucked, literally. But they’re not about a shtick, they’re about tossing everything they can at you, and if a beer can hits you in the face, well, you should have gotten out of the way. This is punk the way it’s supposed to be played: loud, obnoxious, and in your face. “Out On the Street” chugs hard with what I’m sure is a hard pelvic thrust as a boot hits you right across your nose. Again, move out the way. But it’s “Struck By Lightning” that will forever allow you to beat the shit out of yourself. You won’t be able to do anything except just love the band’s tenacity, get fucked and Get Fucked.
Are you ever surprised? Well, it is surprising when a group doesn’t fit the bill of what to expect, and in this case, it’s the UK’s Psychlona. The band first surfaced back in 2016, which I’m sure like most, with none to little fanfare. This in and of itself is astonishing as the group lays into a style that doesn’t allow it to be easily pigeonholed within. That might not be completely true but the effort made into the band’s third full-length, Palo Verde (Psycho Waxx), which is a psychedelic behemoth of an album that’s completely relentless. The band’s take on stoner/desert rock may in fact move better than forerunners that came before it but make no mistake, Psychlona’s swirls of psychedelia seem to take precedence.
Psychlona will leave your sense torn to pieces as it burns through the opening “Gasoline,” tethered with feedback before the group explodes with terse walls of guitar interplay, propelled by its thundering rhythm. Treated watery vocals are just as inviting, adding more density than one might expect. At this point, you should be all in for the experience. I’m sure once listeners experience it, they won’t be able to get enough of “1975,” which is heavy on the rhythm with destructive yet melodic guitars. It’s infectious and the band’s controlled low-end theory is unmatched. You can just feel the Gibsons & Flying V shredding everything in its path with its hypnotic draw. Is it difficult to say this is possibly one of the greatest heavy rock songs ever written? No. Take a deep breath in and just let it seep into your pores. But things don’t end there, it’s only two songs.
The atmospheric “Rainbird,” with echoing vocals and drifting guitars gently and slowly takes hold of the senses and by the time you figure out what happened, you’re left wallowing alone in a street gutter without a care in the world, joyful for the enrapturing experience. The track crescendos and never lets up, evolving into a ferocious beast. It’s insanity at its best. Psyclona is best described as tamed savagery, like a multi-lingual William Wallace brutal with a sword. This is the way the group maneuvers through its songs. It’s both feral and enchanting, and “Purple River” gives you both. The band can move seamlessly between both and it’s usually in the same song! It’s not to say the group doesn’t hit balls to the walls when it wants as “Jetplane” offers up chugging guitars surrounded by a roaring frenetic pace. It seems whatever Pyschlona fancies, it accomplishes through its music.
So, surprising? To say the least. With Palo Verde it’s obvious Psychlona is making a statement, infusing together a sound of desert rock, psychedelia, and metal that hasn’t been offered before. If it has, no one has done it in the way Psychlona’s been able to; and that’s creating a unique blend, stamping it with its own signature.
There are crossroads and we all have to get there but sometimes, it isn’t very clear. The year is obviously 2022 but with the pandemic putting a hold on much of our lives, I’d understand if you’re still living in 2019… to an extent. Brooklyn’s Thick has just released its latest long-player Happy Now (Epitaph), its sophomore full-length release and while the band has been performing since 2014, and its songs are bountiful with energy & cheerful harmonies, I’m not sure if the group really has much to offer.
Given, the trio – guitarist Nikki Sisti, bassist Kate Black, and drummer Shari Page – does do their best to write catchy songs, the band’s 1-2 punch comes off somewhat rudimentary. That’s not to say the band doesn’t write about anything interesting, investing time in lyricism that makes you pay attention. “I Wish 2016 Never Happened” rolls around scenarios the band wishes it never went through. It’s that vulnerability that leaves you raw after making the wrong decisions over a bouncy & friendly beat. The juxtaposition shouldn’t be missed. “Loser,” wrapped around just a few chords, may come across as self-deprecating but it really isn’t. Throughout the verbal warfare of others, Thick rolls with the punches never succumbing to anyone else’s opinion. That’s great to hear.
The band’s sweet cooing vocal harmonies are endearing throughout the album, and “Her Chapstick” offers loud yet melodic noisy guitars but referring back to the fundamental nature of the songs, is difficult to avoid. There doesn’t seem to be much to be offered by THICK moving in further within the third decade of the 21st century.
In the end Thick isn’t going to change the world, that’s just a fact. Happy Now may find a home with the kids who are picking up their instruments and thinking “Shit, I can do this too!” Hopefully, they’ll have a bit more technical prowess or creativity.