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Album Review
1st (Second) Lo-Fi Record

1st (Second) Lo-Fi Record
by Psychic Maps

Powertool Records

Review Date
8th April 2014
Reviewed by
Nich Cunningham

Psychic Maps first album 1st (Second) Lo-Fi Record is an eclectic collage of songs, fragments and the odd field recording. Essentially the brainchild of ex-Loves Ugly Children ex-Subliminal prime-mover Simon MacLaren, the new record employs a revolving cast of players and styles resulting in a disparate but endearing collection of tracks that recall and build on classic elements of New Zealand music.

Given that MacLaren describes the band as 'deliberately confusing', it's hardly surprising the album refuses to stay put stylistically. Opening with the acoustic guitar driven 'The Funeral Factory', which lands somewhere in the vicinity of Brian Jonestown Massacre, the record quickly gives way to 90's guitar pop with horn accompaniment. Before long, the focus turns to reggae with the delay infused 'Waxeye'. Deeper into the album, tracks like F-Sharp echo MacLaren's work with the Subliminals.

Paying close attention reveals a number of streams of work that have been assembled in the fashion of a Burroughs cut-up novel. As incoherent as this all sounds, the main constant is the lofi aesthetic. Most of these tracks sound live either to an audience or in a practice space. The sequencing of the album contrasts each of the stylistic aspects to excellent effect.

This album would definitely appeal to Flying Nun or Xpressway enthusiasts. However, that is not to say this record sounds dated. MacLaren has successfully incorporated a variety of elements and styles to produce an intriguing album.


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