Max Pain and the Groovies // Electro Cosmic
Psych Lake Records
Recommended Track: Swirvin’
I miss psychedelic rock of the 1960s. I mean, I wasnâ€™t there or anything, but it all seems soo groooovy. Aside from the sex and drugs, there was amazing music being made that didnâ€™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 â€“ good or bad â€“ 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 nâ€™ roll on Electro Cosmic, the bandâ€™s first full-length album. As much as the record begs to be drunk like a tall glass of nostalgia, it doesnâ€™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.Â Their opener, â€śWhat You Wanna Hearâ€ť, is a fast-paced, garage rock with vocals almost reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne. After a little digging, I unearthed a little gem in â€śAnythingâ€™ll Doâ€ť because it prompted a swift recognition of The Doorsâ€™ â€śAlabama Song (Whisky Bar)â€ť cover. Folksy in hop and rhythm, it maintained that spirit but with a rougher edge. The haunting keyboards in â€śSwirvinâ€ť and â€śPut Awayâ€ť were like little flurries of â€śIn-A-Gadda-Da-Vidaâ€ť that sprinkled the album with much needed dreaminess.
I donâ€™t think there was a single track on Electro Cosmic that really put me in a chill, zoned out mood, however. One thing Iâ€™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 â€śSet the Controls for the Heart of the Sunâ€ť by Pink Floyd to really understand this concept. I guess thatâ€™s where the â€śgarageâ€ť aspect of Max Pain kicks in. It probably works really well in a live-show setting but doesnâ€™t carry weight if youâ€™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 thatâ€™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. Iâ€™m afraid Max Pain falls more in line with the latter.