Magic Flowers Droned
his is going to take some work. Magic Flowers Droned is not instant gratification, nor is it easy listening. Quite the contrary. Psychedelic Horseshit is mind-numbingly dense, chaotic, and inevitably drunk on their collective refuse. They are lost in giddy energy and innocent creation, a turn-off that might provoke the first time listener to shut them out completely, much like lead Horse Matt Whitehurst’s million note guitar solos that never hit the proper notes. It’s unwise to condone and sing the praises of such an album, because once the threshold between torture and ecstatic pleasure is jumped, the band’s idiosyncratic charm becomes an addiction. But you’re going to have to put forth some effort, suspend disbelief, use your imagination a little.
Magic Flowers Droned could qualify as a comedy record, as the marquee falls squarely onto Whitehurst’s nasal Dylan-isms and snarky language; poetry with both catchy non-sequiturs and pointed social commentary that doesn’t require musical accompaniment to elicit knowing nods and plenty of chuckles. Indie rock has numerous targets, but not enough darts. On “New Wave Hippies” Whitehurst seems to hurl them in the dark by the handful—“New wave hippies don’t protest / They do it on little screens / Recovering 90’s ravers / People who bought the wrong jeans / Occasional psychos / They’re mostly just nice folks / It’s like a new disease.” It’s a monologue that could stand alone without the crack-house disco and tin-can post-punk surrounding it.
By juggling Jad Fair and Mark E. Smith, Psychedelic Horseshit is led by a persona who is incapable of lobbing a pop song with a straight-face. “Nothing Is Revealed” is the circus version of the Strokes, only bathed in tweeter busting fuzz and cardboard percussion. The air-raid siren of “Rather Dull” meanwhile, is equally inspired by both My Bloody Valentine and Nietzsche. There’s a constant dichotomy that never levels out, making cluttered sing-a-longs like “Portals” and thrift-store dub-plates like “What’s in Store” a wonderful mess to behold, watching a prodigy choke and sputter and desperately try and catch up with his tossed-off genius.
Where kindred spirits in Times New Viking hide their hooks through sonic nihilism, Psychedelic Horseshit deal strictly in anarchy, broadcasting by any means necessary. Certainly there is structure, with tangible verses and choruses, but the band disobeys any set of rules by blatantly burying melodies under piles of atonal chords and in-the-red mixes, piecing together tracks from multiple takes, or, in the case of “Mash-Up: Psychedelic Horseshit vs. Space Age Lucifer” running two songs simultaneously through separate channels. Their unorthodox methods shouldn’t work and with “Mash-Up” they don’t (wasting two perfectly good songs for the sake of art), but the gesture is so bad it’s brilliant and as a result you’ll never listen to the album the same way twice. Magic Flowers Droned forgoes “lo-fi” or even “no-fi” crafting a scuzz-rock interactive experience that should be considered “own-fi.”
Like most albums in the Siltbreeze canon, Magic Flowers Droned is cased in an almost impenetrable crust. Chiseling through Dead C and Shadow Ring records only reveals yet another layer, with Psychedelic Horseshit the labor is worth the reward—once you finally reach the center of Magic Flowers Droned it becomes one of the brightest and self-aware pop delights seen this year.