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Magic Castles - Sky Sounds (A Records)

Sky Sounds from Magic Castle.
17 November 2014

When this Minneapolis band’s lazy, hypnotic waves of organ-drenched psych first hits your ears, it will take you straight back to 1967, at least musically. Indeed, there is a very good reason why Anton Newcombe wanted them on his A Records imprint, for they fit the Brian Jonestown Massacre vibe like hand to glove. Witness the title track with its reverbed vocals sounding way out there in orbit along with Spacemen 3 and other spacey psych bands. I also sense the spirit of West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band in these grooves, along with any other hookah loving, hazed out psych band of merit you can name. “Dragonfly” wouldn’t sound out of place on a Kaleidoscope UK record, with its ornate stylings and blissed out vocals.

Band leader Jason Edmonds is all over this record, as are some guest musicians contributing cello, viola, flute, and trombone. Produced by Edmonds and Neil Weir at Old Blackberry Way Studios (where Twin/Tone Records got its start), the two have done a masterful job of creating this spellbinding, 21st century work of psychedelia. For those who deny that there has been a resurgence of psych, just look at the scene in Minneapolis, which has spawned such talents as Chatham Rise, First Communion Afterparty, the Leisure Birds, and Flavor Crystals. These bands mesh dream pop and shoegaze in a psychedelic stew pot without missing a beat. Perhaps it’s because dream pop, shoegaze, and even some post punk are offshoots of the psychedelia which has mesmerized me for decades.

Magic Castles hits my sonic sweet spot. Just one listen to the gorgeous “Dragonfly” with its majestic flourishes of guitar and you’ll be bought and sold. There are other such examples (“White Stone”) on this strikingly beautiful album, and lovers of ornate psych and related genres will love this record. Run, do not walk, to your nearest record emporium and buy this straight away.

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