In traditional voodoo, a Gris Gris is a powerful spell. On the New Orleans streets, it’s slang for drugs. But on For the Season, the Gris Gris is a little bit of both. The album, which doesn’t quite live up to the band’s stellar 2004 eponymous debut, is soaked in LSD in the fashion of Country Joe and the Fish’s Electric Music for the Body and Mind. But this is far from a sophomore slump from this Oakland-via-Texas four-piece: For the Seasons is a bewildering kaleidoscopic whirlwind that retains edginess and remains splendid all at once.
Opener “Ecks Em Eye” seems like something that could have been unearthed from Syd Barrett’s archives, and the jangling chimes of “Peregrine Downstream” will likely ring in your ears long after the track’s end. The drizzling psych-ooze on “Cuerpos Haran Amor Extrano” could be a befitting homage to all the overlooked artists from the Nuggets compilations.
The Gris Gris has an uncanny knack at retaining a mind-boggling aura, particularly on the colorful onslaught of “Year Zero,” which is bound to give flashbacks to the older heads who tuned in and dropped out while Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn was spinning on their turntables. “Medication #4” may lead some to think that the Gris Gris was on the same “medication” Brian Wilson was on when he was holed up in his studio making Pet Sounds. “Skin Mass Cat,” with its lurking chamber essence, can drip slowly into your brain, and “Pack Up Your Raygun” is by far the album’s most captivating track. The song sounds not only like it predated “Paint It Black,” but that it could have influenced it as well.
“Skin Mass Cat” (MP3)