Garcia Peoples “Nightcap At Wits’ End” (Beyond Beyond is Beyond, 2020)

Garcia Peoples return after the epic freak-out of ‘One Step Behind‘, which featured an extended piece playing out at over thirty minutes, with an album of a dozen songs of a more conventional length. It cements Garcia Peoples as key players in an American psychedlia revival – alongside such bands as Allah-Las.  Without resorting to parody or arch-reinterpretation Garcia Peoples create a sound which is akin to classic Jefferson Airplane – or, for that matter Grateful Dead – with rock interpreted through a filter which suggests familiarity with the intricacies of folk and without the bombast of wearisome heavy droning rock. The music swirls, but the keyboards soar rather than beat out some funereal dirge, the guitars are clean and crisp bursting out at times with elegant solos which are all about melody and tone and have nothing to do with pointless speed and dull fretboard dexterity. It’s guitar playing not a dull technical demonstration.

Altered Places‘ paints a picture of a blissed out attraction, full of lines that glitter like gold in the sunlight with the shine of their playful wordplay “I am like a Summer fruit where the juicy part is hidden at the root“. ‘Gliding Through‘ moves through a crunching opening that hints at a sidestep into Alice Cooper-esque heaviness before throwing in Beatlesque strings and a rising vocal reminiscent of Manassas’ ‘Move Around‘. Written down it looks like a stylistic mash-up that shouldn’t work – but in fact it’s a joy from start to finish. ‘One at a Time‘ – which segues seamlessly into the instrumental ‘(Our Life Could be Your Van)‘ – addresses alienation and the need to rely on oneself: classic counter-culture topics, but the transition from an acoustic opening to beautiful burbling electric guitar before what is effectively a long jammed coda of powerful riffs works so perfectly. ‘A Reckoning‘ adds an English folk style to the proceedings – quite an ‘Argus‘ era Wishbone Ash feel or a rocked up take on Traffic in ‘John Barleycorn‘ mode – which is enhanced by the slightly distant vocal over a melody which borrows somewhat from ‘Reynardine.’  With hypnotically repetitive melody lines it’s as fine a piece of stoner-folk as you’re likely to hear.

So many bands referenced, but Garcia Peoples are themselves throughout, stitching together a highly pleasing sound and ‘Nightcap at Wits’ End‘ will surely refresh the palate of the jaded.  Parody would be unbearable, but adding another glowing piece to the psychedelic-folk influenced-rock edifice is to be applauded.

Garcia Peoples impress on latest Sixties inspired but still fresh as a daisy release.
7/10

Author: Jonathan Aird

Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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