By the time you read this, the Pharmacy has closed. The Seattle-based trio – singer/guitarist Scott Yoder, drummer Brendhan Bowers and keyboardist Stefan Rubicz — announced that Spells, their fifth album, would be their last, as they were moving on to other, separate projects. We wish them well in their future endeavors, and are grateful that they left us with a fine slice of indie/psych/garage to remember them by. Spells casts a relaxed, late-summer vibe, whether it’s the post-Velvets drone of opener “Dead Friend” or the backporch of Big Pink-invoking “Anna Bella”.
In more than a few places Spells feels like the kid-brother to both the Reigning Sounds’ similarly ‘60s-indebted Shattered — on the album’s middle third (the title track, “Master Lake Lagoon” and “Cool and Calm”), frontman Yoder is a dead ringer for RS crooner Greg Cartwright – and Ty Segall’s comically-generous psych merry-go-round Manipulator, at turns shuffling, noirish and hazy. In retrospect, these tunes practically taunt the listener about how good the Pharmacy could’ve been if they stuck together. As it is, by the time dreamy, folky closer “Strange” fades out, they’re ghosts.