Music Reviews

Psychic Lemon Studio Jams Volume 4

Psychic Lemon is from London and they have made an art form out of steady progressive rhythms, unconventional guitar tones and capturing raw creative energy. Their music is in the Krautrock, space rock psychedelic rock genres. Studio Jams Volume 4 is groove oriented, improvisational and extraterrestrial. The band evokes the stellar regions with its massive sonic expanse.

The guitarist and synth player Andy Briston specializes is gritty guitar tones that are heavily altered with effect pedals. Dense walls of echo and reverb collide with hot loud amps, droning feedback and atmospheric ambience. The guitar is used like a synthesizer focusing on signal modulation, and echo oscillation.  The guitar is pounded, strings a lightly strummed followed by a swell of controlled feedback and effects trailing out into time. 

Psychic Lemon is from London and has been making far-out psychedelic rock since their self-titled debut album in 2016. The follow-up Frequency.Rhythm.Distortion.Delay in 2018 made several best of the year lists in the underground psych scene as well as their album Freak Mammal in 2019. 

Covid-19 shifted the bands approach with self-released albums live recorded in their practice space. The band was always engaged in extensive improvisational jams and the pandemic of the early 2020s gave them a chance to freely and loosely explore this compulsion. From this idea the Studio Jams Series was born. 

The Studio Jam Series was not a departure from their creative process but gave them the opportunity to cut loose from structural constrains and release anything they wanted on their own timeline. This self-driven creative process has resulted in over 3 hours of raw unfiltered “jams”across 4 volumes. Their impressive output was made possible with home recording using their personal space as a studio. In many ways these Studio Jams are more exciting than their live albums because the music has a live feel but it is all new songs that had never been heard before with good quality audio.

In a standard recording process the band writes, then records, then waits a long time before the mix, master and finally the physical release. This process can take several months to several years. The pandemic created a space where Psychic Lemon could remove all the filters and give their fans direct access to the latest music. In some cases the time between home recording and the digital release were only a week apart. This real time process is unique and very rare to hear. The band is comfortable with their sound and skill in improvisation. It is impressive that they are able to release 4 albums of new music in less than a years time.

Psychic Lemon Studio Jams Series is free, loose, in-the-moment raw creative energy. In normal circumstances only close friends and members of the band would have the chance to be so close to the real time creative process. The music itself does not suffer as a result but has driven the band to explore new sonic terrains and to experiment. The next fully produced studio albums will no doubt be stellar with so much new music and creative time given to their process.

Overall, Psychic Lemon Studio Jams Volume 4 is an enjoyable album with sprawling tracks that fit into the improvisational ethos of early Krautrock. The guitar, synth, bass and drums all sound great and take on a blend of studio and live room recording. The energy and drive is always present with a deep mindfulness toward each note and sound in the recording. Volume 4 is the most chill in the series. Long tracks, feedback, and echoing guitars dance on precise and progressive rhythms. The bass lines on this album are powerful and rich with rhythmic complexity and space rock tones. This album will appeal to fans of heavy echo, reverb and space Krautrock. Head over to the Bandcamp link below to experience this deep trip into the beyond.