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by on Apr 16, 2015

max pain and the groovies, electro cosmo, psych lake records, lolipop records, review, 2015, lopie, lo pie, lo pie music Max Pain and the Groovies // Electro Cosmic
Psych Lake Records
2.9/5 Pies

Recommended Track: Swirvin’

I miss psychedelic rock of the 1960s. I mean, I wasn’t there or anything, but it all seems soo groooovy. Aside from the sex and drugs, there was amazing music being made that didn’t just sound good but felt good. It took you on a ride through the cosmos meant to open your eyes to a forbidden realm disapproved of by parents and church officials alike. It was the age to be young and revel in the freedom and carelessness associated with youth, and music was at the core. The music was a trip – good or bad – and a story that made each listener its author, penning the plot with each experience had in tandem with the tunes. Max Pain and the Groovies are a hodge-podge of shaggy-haired skate punks who do their best to tap into this well of psychedelic rock n’ roll on Electro Cosmic, the band’s first full-length album. As much as the record begs to be drunk like a tall glass of nostalgia, it doesn’t always go down smoothly. I was expecting more of a Cream or Jefferson Airplane feel and what I really got was a Kings of Leon-esque band with a minor psychedelic underbelly.

I commend the album for being cohesive, with the songs staying pretty true to the root of their sound. This can be a good and bad thing at times: good in the fact that it keeps an album nicely packaged together, bad in the fact that it can be difficult to distinguish stand-out tracks. dreaminess. Their opener, “What You Wanna Hear”, is a fast-paced, garage rock with vocals almost reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne. After a little digging, I unearthed a little gem in “Anything’ll Do” because it prompted a swift recognition of The Doors’ “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” cover. Folksy in hop and rhythm, it maintained that spirit but with a rougher edge. The haunting keyboards in “Swirvin” and “Put Away” were like little flurries of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” that sprinkled the album with much needed dreaminess.

I don’t think there was a single track on Electro Cosmic that really put me in a chill, zoned out mood, however. One thing I’ve always appreciated about psychedelic rock is the fact that it can be so titillating and so placid at the same time. Every time I thought that combination would be achieved, the pace picked back up and ripped away any sense of serenity. There is a lot to be said about a well done, easy-going tune that sparks hyper-active emotions without the added aggressiveness. Listen to a pre-David Gilmour “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” by Pink Floyd to really understand this concept. I guess that’s where the “garage” aspect of Max Pain kicks in. It probably works really well in a live-show setting but doesn’t carry weight if you’re just trying to turn on, tune in and drop out.

Maybe Max Pain and the Groovies never set out make an entirely psychedelic, throwback album. Was I kind of disappointed when that’s not what I got? Perhaps, but I will say that there are some bands that really individualize themselves and make you appreciate their uniqueness, and then there are bands that remind you of better bands and make you appreciate them solely for that fact. I’m afraid Max Pain falls more in line with the latter.

 

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