Psychic Lemon’s eponymous debut album was something of a triptych between Goat, the Happy Mondays and a Jah Wobble solo album. it’s all change though as their new album Frequency, Rhythm, Distortion, Delay casts the band somewhere between Radar Men From The Moon, BRMC and the better bits of an overlong Hacienda compilation. Traces are there to show this is the same band, such as the denseness of the drum beats and the allusions to the halcyon days of Manchester dance, but this is a band now going all out, all in and over the edge. A band that once favoured musicality and careful exploration is now a freewheeling force of nature. The album title makes it clear: the simply ingredients of music itself are key here. Psychic Lemon are stripping it to the bone.
Jungle telegraph drums and hi-tension line guitars start the album off with ‘Exit To The Death Lane’. The music churns and rumbles like battle stations on a nuclear sub. This is a tune that shrieks and revels its way into the dance sphere – you can walk the Manchester monkey walk to this like a right twat.
‘Hey Droog’ is like a blue print for constructing a Joy Division song with rivets and caterpillar tracks. Wild bursts of guitar spray like welding sparks.
‘You’re No Good’ continues with a hijacked, cannibalised and retrofitted Talking Heads groove welded to Radar Men From The Moon’s brand of psych-trance-rave and some Hawkwind riff addiction. The pace is furious and head-spinning, the song is pure forward motion. Twangs of guitar scrape at your subconscious while the bass pummels you under. When the chorus kicks back in at the dying embers you can see the tangled mass of bodies down front. Music as relentless, broad and fun as this should be filling big, big rooms.
The single ‘Interstellar Fuzz Star’ is denser, with its close lines of guitar (hitting Sonic Youth’s sugar kane perhaps?) atop fretful drums and the bass groove is pure New Order to get your head nodding.
‘Sartori Disko’ is the early morning wake up tune on a Cyberman mothership. Partly recalling the future-glow motorik of Eat Lights; Become Lights and the shrieking “hippy” blowout of the Stooges ‘LA Blues’ this combines bliss and aggro to bring the album to a sweet ‘n’ savoury end. The morning after the night before?
Psychic Lemon have gone for the jugular, shedding the dense funk rhythms in favour of an all out dance assault. It’s bad form to compare albums but it’s hard not to as their two albums are so wildly different. Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay feels very current, very much part of the current psych, very 2018. Psychic Lemon felt out of time and apart. As such you should really make sure to buy both albums, I suppose.