Death Valley Girls fourth coming album ‘Under The Spell of Joy’ invites you to follow their psychospiritual mantras and melodies to transcend your worldly woes and embrace the glorious power that is manifesting JOY. Energetically, DVG captured that spirit with liberating chants, haunting choirs, saxophonic melodies, organ lines, fuzzed out/hypnotic guitar, throbbing bass, and booming drums. The album title comes from the text on a band t-shirt that Bonnie Bloomgarden(vocals/organ) wore while touring for five years straight from San Diego heavy psych rockers ‘Joy’. DVG took that maxim and built upon it to help guide you through this hallucinatory spell of an album.
The ritual opening track ‘Hypnagogia’ envelopes the listener as Rikki Styxx (drums) manifests an otherworldly rhythm while steadily ringing the bell of the ride cymbal to spirit you away. Larry Schemel’s hypnotizing guitar nod to 13th Floor Elevators (Rest in Power Roky Erickson) with a touch of the intros to’ Roller Coaster’ meets ‘Slip Inside This House’ to set the tone inviting you into the Death Valley Girls lair of mysticism. Bassist Nikki Pickle (Nicole Smith) slows down your heart rate making your eyes feel heavy with her kundalini releasing bass lines. Bonnie Bloomgarden melodic vocals create a web of phantasmagoria to lead you through the ethereal realms between sleep and awake. Keyboardist Gregg Foreman (Delta 72/Cat Power) thins the veil between the known and unknown by forming a wall of sound with the organ drones. By the end of the track you’ve astral projected out of your body to go seek further.
Bringing a breath of fresh air to the album, saxophonist Gabe Flores (Richard Rose band, Grave Flowers Bongo Band) takes you on quite the trip weaving the delicate tapestry that takes tracks like ‘The Universe’, ’Under The Spell of Joy’, Hypnagogia’ to great heights. Utilizing steamy, breathy saxy notes brings about touches of Hawkwind passion and aura especially on standout track ‘The Universe’.
Hold My Hand pulls you out of the muck that keeps bubbling in the back of your mind. Larry Schemel’s guitar on this track builds up that hope and anticipation to see the band live again post-covid despite this pre-apocalyptic world mindset that wants to drag ya down.
The anthemic title track ‘Under The Spell of Joy’ rumbles to creates a communal energy that makes you want to join their gang as long as you chant your head off to ‘Under The Spell of Joy/Under The Spell of Love to reprogram your senses of perception and get out of that pessimistic mental prison you create for yourself. Candles lit do you see your grandiose potential in a better future yet?
Bliss Out brings comfort like a best friend reminding you no matter the eb and flow of life, we gotta live for now because tomorrow is not promised. The Kid (Laura Kelsey) on vocals and organ delivering that Ram Dass quote” Be Here Now” to shake your perception and truly live for today to lift your meditative spirit higher. Just breathe and let go.
10 Day Miracle Challenge shaking rhythm got some Stooges roots meets touches of James Brown groove to bring you the all so important message of holding on to your power, “Don’t get distracted, just takes some action, let your greatest fears implode..” to truly live freely in this renewed vision of yourself.
Dream Cleaver bends your mind past the breaking point like you’ve stepped into some cosmic fun house. Energetic group chant and a different flavor of sax with Josh Menashe (guitar/Frankie and The Witch Fingers) this time around to bring you back to your physical body with a punch kinda like falling backwards in your chair to wake up.
Under The Spell of Joy by Death Valley Girls is out now on Suicide Squeeze Records