You might not know this, or even believe this (unless you live there), but right in Country Music USA’s bastion of Nashville, there is a burgeoning and flourishing psychedelic-garage-punk scene happening. The Guardian even wrote about it earlier this year. One of the groups to hail from this freak explosion is a band called the Sufis, who are now in the process of releasing their self-titled debut record courtesy of Ample Play, which is the record label run by Cornershop. You know, as in “Brimful of Asha”? It’s kind of easy to see why the Cornershop boys picked up on this band, as there’s a mystical throwback sound that the Sufis mine. And, well, they’re called the Sufis. Enough said right there.
The Sufis establish on their first shot that they are clearly a talented group of musicians. Led by Clavin Laporte, who reportedly played most of the instruments on the record, The Sufis is built upon vintage production techniques, such as tape manipulation and reverbed vocals, and instrumentation culled from homemade, refurbished equipment to create an unearthly, heavenly sound that’s a cross between Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Love and Donovan with a hint of early Byrds. But, alas, that’s when the group is interested in writing actual songs with structure. About half the album is devoted to wacky experimentation that is meant to freak listeners out –- or at least make them feel like they’ve just ingested the brown acid of Woodstock lore. (Example: there’s actually a song here titled “Lemming Circle Dance”, which is about as far out as it sounds). Ultimately, The Sufis will be of interest to those who can’t get enough of the ’60s, no matter how loopy and experimental the throwback is. Everyone else might want to wait for a seven inch single of an actual, you know, single from the album, such as lead off track “Sri Sai Flora”. The Sufis can write a catchy hook. Here’s hoping they ditch the laboratory setting and attempts to melt listeners’ faces off through the power of sound for more earworms next time out.