Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Ketamines (2 of 4) on Leaning Trees Records

The Ketamines continue to surprise me. Every time I start anticipating their earlier fuzzy psych recordings, they go and deliver something completely different. Like the other singles in this series they’ve continued to go off the rails. They’re in their experimental phase, pleasing themselves and hitting their stride in their own unique direction.

Right from "Take Me To Your Leader" I love how these guys combine abandoned garage with a hyper synth sound and their sense of sewn together melodies. It's completely bonkers like the Flaming Lips. Frankensteined chords and structures, forget the tempo, we're changing it, with an echo that goes straight from reverb to echo in a jagged Devo frantic sound. A talky vocal like some Camper Van Beethoven throwback, campy and bizarre talking about aliens but then really getting into such a great sense of timing, like a failed experiment they had to twist and break the findings to fit into a total success. Hearing some of the stuff Paul has recorded for Fist City and then the kinds of things he puts together himself with the Ketamines I'm in coomplete awe. LIke Matthew Melton or John Dwyer, every time I read the freaking liner notes he pops up. This runs right into "Lightworkers Lament”, gets more bonkers singing in a deep marching vocal, the effects heavy and winding all over. I don't know much about Pink Floyd but that mysterious English sounding prog is coming on strong here, like Blank Dogs covering the Kinks with a repeating off kilter stomp, a super psych with a haughty vocal that leads into a fantastic pop track "You Can’t Stop Time". This is schizophrenic in the best way. Don't think you ever know what to expect from the Ketamines, even after a couple of full lengths I'm thinking where the hell was all this stuff? How much do they think I can take? God this is a beautiful pop song, the kind of thing that wrote itself, once that harmony was introduced. It sounds like The Unicorns for christ sakes one of my favorite bands ever, in this flute and heavy drum treatment. Can't get enough of this song... of course you name the EP after this one.

By the B-Side I’m thinking Leaning Tree really got the good tracks, this is so much Ketamines. The lasers are back on "We Are One" and they built this seemingly out of a vocal with a slappy piano. Lay in the drums and I can't hear anything but a Ween sci-fi album about an abduction. Aliens came down for Prince when he was a little boy (true story) and he hadn't even dreamed of a purple latex studio - yet. I like this track is voiced by monotone aliens who are tying to convince us that ‘we are one’? "Right About Now" has tons in common with the Fresh and Onlys. Here's an acoustic near blasted understated layers of vocals right under this laid back density of a hazy dream you can't get out of for some reason. It's grey, but I know how this was put together, its not mysterious but then you’re slapping your forehead - damn of course this is the way you would do this. "Change Your Ways" reverses the flute and bass into free jazz vibrations. They go underground with a conga Jack Kerouac lounge beat here. It’s pysch in the way it starts to mess with perception and letting things unravel. It’s got so much experimentalism like Steropathic Beck’s 4-track experiments where the underlying nuts and bolts aren't so obvious. This isn’t the visible man, you’re going to have to spill some guts to see what this is all about.

Get this from Leaning Trees Records.

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