Psych bands are a funny thing. They don’t really come in waves, but rather a band or two at time, or when an established band try to reinvent themselves as a psych band, and lock themselves in a studio with an obedient producer, a bottomless pit of money, a mountain of drugs and a copy of Revolver, which doesn’t usually seem to be a good idea.
Unfortunately, beyond the handful of household names, though, you’ve usually got to look pretty hard to find something good, it’s really refreshing when one delves a little further into obscurity and finds an up-and-coming psych band that actually grabs you. The Vickers, who are from Florence, Italy, grab me. They’re not too out there or just too weird; they’re just true to psychedelia in its original form, and they do their thing quite well.
It’d be easy to call these guys an Italian Temples or Tame Impala, but to me, they’ve got a more authentic ’60s/early ’70s feel than either of those bands. It is safe to say, though, that with all that phasing and Andrea Mastropietro’s John Lennon-aping vocals, that comparisons with their more established contemporaries from around the world will probably be inevitable.
The reverb-soaked opener ‘She’s Lost’ recalls Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker, and it ends with a chaotic, bass-heavy jam that would make even an elderly Bill Wyman erect, while the second track, ‘I Don’t Know What It Is?’ is a tighter, driving space rock track in the vein of Todd Rundgren’s early-70s heyday, that again descends into a grandiose yet kinda quirky jam. These make for a compelling opening one-two, but the Vickers manage to top that with the next song, ‘Senseless Life’, which has a similar vibe, but is just….better than the other two, I guess.
‘All I Need’ is a fuzzed-out rocker that sounds like what the Stooges would have sounded like if they’d been on LSD instead of heroin, while ‘Inside a Dream’ takes that fuzzy aesthetic and chills it the fuck out before returning to the psychedelic chaos of the first half of the album, this time with a (tasteful) guitar solo. On the penultimate track, the slow-burn ‘Total War’, Mastropietro takes on a different, more boyish, almost spoken voice, not unlike resident Arctic Monkey Alex Turner. It’s the only track on here that has a more contemporary (’90s, I guess) feel going on, and has a great outro with a bit of a Pulp/Jarvis Cocker vibe to it.
Very accomplished for a first album. All the tracks are pretty strong, although a few of them have long sections of jamming that get a bit same-y.
If you like: Tame Impala.
Best tracks: ‘She’s Lost’, ‘Senseless Life’, ‘Inside a Dream’, ‘Total War’