Review ·

With their debut, Dins, the members of Brooklyn-based Psychic Ills stomp out seemingly forgotten ground in our retro-obsessed music culture, incorporating parts equally psychedelic and shoe-gaze while creating a sound their own.

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The album opens with the percussion-heavy "East," which creates the vibes the title hints at. "Electriclife" follows with two minutes of incessant rattling before suddenly bursting into straightforward but layered rock. It's swathed in Tres Warren's vocals, which are dreamy and breathy and reminiscent of Kevin Shields's.

 

But what keeps this album -- and this band -- from being derivative is that the members never follow one simple path. Crazy psychedelic freak-outs permeate the songs, telling the tale of a bizarre journey through an acid-soaked mind -- only to explode into something beautiful and gloomy such as "January Rain," which is more Slowdive than 13th Floor Elevators. If anything, the band draws comparisons to the '90s heroin-chic darkness of Mazzy Star, though it's clear that its influences reach further back.

 

Unafraid to mess around with the kind of percussion the album title suggests, the members twist and turn through songs that are more like sonic explorations. They know where this is going even if you don't. The songs play off one another -- loud to soft, droning to short-winded, rambling to straight-forward -- and that back and forth, constantly draped in wistful vocals, is what keeps the album afloat. The inescapable atmospheric quality is the real draw here, and though the band might refer to it as Dins -- insinuating a sense of bedlam -- the truth is something much more self-possessed.

 

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