Psychic Ills: Dins (2005)

May 9, 2013


Roll: 5-1-9
Album: Psychic Ills, Dins

It was 2009’s droney “Sister Ray“-by-way-of-Faust-on-a-bender Mirror Eye (2009) album more so than Dins (2005) that first got me excited about Psychic Ills. I’d somehow developed the impression they were part of the chillwave movement or some vacuous, crappy Brooklyn synth-rock scene. I think I was also offended by the colour-treated Xerox image on the cover which I felt was a shameless riff on Hüsker Dü‘s classic Zen Arcade graphics. I guess it made me feel old and like I wanted trust-fund hipsters from Brooklyn to get off my lawn. Regardless, I pretty much ignored Dins upon release. What a mistake.

Luckily, I’ve since gotten over these erroneous negative notions as the Ills are one of the best and most consistent psychedelic outfits operating in the last ten years. While their latest release, the slightly Kraut-informed and trance-inducing garage rocker One Track Mind, takes them into almost commercially viable territory (in an alternate universe where Spacemen 3 were somehow commercially viable), their older material can get as freaky as you’d ever desire.

Mirror Eye was a deliciously droned-out journey into a cosmic desert and Early Violence (2004) was textbook example of artsy-fartsy psych-primitivism. Dins falls somewhere in between those early titles and their more recent material with loft-party ragas like “East” fading into ambient noise freak-outs like “Untitled” then onto proper songs like the dreamily chugging “January Rain” and underground murk of the velvety noise-rocker “I Know My Name“.

There are times Psychic Ills might come off as being a little aloof or too-cool-for-school, taking themselves a little too seriously. But it’s no more of a detriment than Anton Newcombe not taking things seriously enough with The Brian Jonestown Massacre. In fact, they are sort of a BJM without the tongue-in-cheek winking that harshes the mellow and makes you feel like a fool for following Anton on the trip.

The humourlessness of Dins can get a bit heavy by the end. But then, this is heavy music for heavy times when you’re in a heavy mood. Just chill out and let these heavy vibes crush you, man.


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