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Our saviors from psychsploitation: POW Magazine Reviews The Prefab Messiahs’ Newest Release

The Prefab Messiahs are a bit like garage rock superheros- flying in from out of nowhere just when we need them the most. The Boston quartet were originally together from 1981-1983 but then disbanded, leaving just one cassette of recordings behind (1983’s Flex Your Mind), never to be heard from again…..that is, until the universe seemed to call them out of their slumber in 2015, when the group reformed and released a new album, Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive (Burger Records), almost as if no time had passed. This month, The Prefab Messiahs are back yet again with Psychsploitation Today, a mind-melting mix of 60s psych, 80s post-punk and modern garage rock with just enough social and political commentary to bring us back to the current year.

The 10 track LP opens with the near-titular track “Psychsploitation”. The Messiahs’ Xerox Feinberg explained that “The term ‘psychsploitation’ usually refers to blatant and clumsy commercial attempts to co-opt the authentic groovy vibes of the psychedelic ’60s. We’re giving it a 21st-century twist. Today giant high-tech forces are working overtime to manipulate and exploit us constantly. It’s a mass mental assault we all accept as normal every time we look at our phones. Our song is about this modern ‘psychological exploitation” (PopMatters). The track itself is a rock n roll acid trip, with wailing guitars, reverberating layered vocals, and groovin’ bass and organ lines keeping the track on a steady rhythm. It’s a sound that manages to be both a throwback to 60s psych AND decidedly modern.

The lyrical commentary on our modern world is exemplified best on the album’s second track, “The Man Who Killed Reality”, a psych-pop parody about our current President which is as catchy as it is clever (dig the brilliance of adding a bit of “Hail to the Chief” into its guitar solo!). The track’s video is just as much of a treasure- a fully animated, Yellow Submarine-esque visual extravaganza featuring a caricature of President Donald Trump that’s thoroughly entertaining no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.

My favorite track on Psychsploitation Today is the melancholy-sweetness of “Sometimes Sunnydaze”, a psychedelic power pop gem which wears its post-punk influences on its sleeve. I’m playing this one a lot lately- it’s a fun song and guaranteed mood-booster, and that bass line gets my feet tapping every time.

Psychsploitation Today is a blast from the past, with its feet firmly planted in the present. Here’s hoping that The Prefab Messiahs are here to stay this time around!

Psychsploitation Today is out January 26th on cassette, CD, digital and streaming formats via Lolipop/Burger Records.

Follow The Prefab Messiahs here.

Written By Sheena Salazar for POW Magazine