Philadelphia’s Psychic Flowers are not slowing down after releasing two new albums last year (Gloves To Grand Air and Freedom Of Failure). For The Undertow is the groups fourth overall album and already is my favorite of their releases with its blow-out power-pop song structure that is filled with glorious fuzz from distorted guitars. “Bring the noise!” is all I want to keep shouting out after hearing the album for the first time because it is the perfect balance of loud and catchy.
The band is led by David Settle (The Fragiles, Ex-Breathers) with Leo Suarez on drums and mixed and mastered by Justin Pizzoferatto (Dinosaur Jr, Krill, Halfsour). The big distorted jam of the opening track “Coming To Collect” will instantly hook you as the band has a very early Guided By Voices meets the guitar rock out edge of Ty Segall. When you mix these distinct sounds and add in a multitude of anathematic hooks it is very easy for Psychic Flowers to be on your radar. The album never takes its foot off the gas as the loud bashing energy contained in “Spaceboy” has the same spastic combustion you can hear on early Superchunk tracks like “Slack Motherfucker” while the big driving seesaw riffs on “Undoing” will have you playing air guitar faster than you would like to admit.
The eleven tracks on For The Undertow cruise by in a quick 27 minutes as the band never really comes up for air. The album is a masterclass in how not to overdue distorted vocals and amps as Psychic Flowers remove the effects at just the right moment. On the slower “Gloves To Grand Air,” which appears near the end of the record, you will hear Settle’s vocals isolated for its first 1:30 before busting out of its chains for its last minute. This precision and detail can be heard on every track which only adds to For The Undertow’s infectious nature. If you are into lo-fi, distorted guitars and catchy jangles then Psychic Flowers is the band for you and this record should be a must add to your playlist. For The Undertow is the groups best album to date and should do very well on our year end list for 2021!
Key Tracks: “Coming To Collect” / “Spaceboy” / “Ten-Sided”
Artists With Similar Fire: Guided By Voices / Ty Segall / Superchunk
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde