4 Dec 2015
Mystic Braves – Days of Yesteryear
Reviewed by Todd Leiter-Weintraub (Hop On Pop)
If one were strictly to look at the cover of the new Mystic Braves album without listening, it would be easy to assume that the music contained therein would sound something like Loggins & Messina, Bread, or any other of the purveyors of early 70s-type soft rock. It’s all there: the soft focus photo, the shaggy hair, coiffed just so, and the muted color scheme.
But then, we all know the old adage about books and covers and all that.
And it’s clear from the flurry of Wurlitzer organ, and chiming reverb- and trem-heavy clean guitar that opens the leadoff track “To Myself” that this ain’t no Lite Rock; Mystic Braves know their way around a psychedelic pop tune.
Aside from the reverb-heavy guitars and Wurlitzer, there are many other genre-specific sounds given the nod throughout the album. It’s almost as if the band are going through a checklist, just to make sure that there is no mistaking them for anything other than a psych band:
Backwards guitars: check!
And “Down On Me” features a 12-string electric guitar playing Byrds-like arpeggios before the tune launches into a heavy Iron Butterfly-type sound.
Now, while much attention has been paid to instrumental arrangements, Julian Ducatenzeiler ‘s lead vocals are still right up front, where they should be. Adding to the period-specific sound, it doesn’t hurt that, at times Ducatenzeiler is a dead-ringer for Davy Jones, vocally. Although the melodies carry a gravity and darkness that The Monkees never had.
These are some excellent songs with good, strong melodies. It’s a sound that we’ve all heard many times before, and it’s a sound that we all love. Although, the darkness of the melodies keeps it all from being any sort of a sing-along.
I don’t believe that I’ve heard another album this year that is more-purely, more-squarely in the realm of psychedelic pop. If you want to just immerse yourself in sound and get lost in the swirl, drop the needle on "Days of Yesteryear'. It will certainly do the trick.
LP and digital available here: