[24 April 2014]
When does a band become so derivative that it stops being a problem and just is? The Mystic Braves are a five-piece out of Los Angeles who are so thoroughly in love with the twangy, farfisa-inflected, hippie-trippy music of the 1960s that they play it a hell of a lot better than many of the bands who were actually there at the time. To put it another way: they don’t play psychedelic 1960s rock the way it was, so much as the way we remember it being.
Tunes like “Bright Blue Day Haze” and “Coyote Blood” are all aswirl with reverb-y guitars, farfisa lines, tumbling bass and groovy lyrics, set to jaunty tempos and packed with enough sonic density to remain engaging even after dozens of listens (trust me). The album is remarkably consistent from top to bottom, so it’s tough to pick a standout, but both the title track and album closer “Earthshake” are particularly infectious, the former with its interplay of keyboard and guitar and the latter with its classic chord progression and drowning-in-reverb vocals. This is a great album all around. Sure, it’s utterly indebted to the music of 50 years ago, but so what? It’s still great.