Words El Jefe.
Ever wish you were born in a different era? Mondo Drag may not necessarily feel that way, but they certainly wholeheartedly do embrace late ‘60s / early ‘70s music. But this one’s not about heavy metal thunder, much more the mind-warping psych-rock trip out scene.
Mondo Drag’s core members are childhood friends who no doubt discovered their mutual love of psych and prog (and all other things ‘70s, you know, flares, muscle cars and the like) before setting out on this journey. They also recently shifted their base of operations to Oakland just prior to releasing this LP. They have also been fortunate enough to be able to utilise the brilliantly talented rhythm section of Blues Pills for this record.
Zephyr is first out of the gate, and one also one of the more uptempo tracks. John Gamino’s ethereal vocals are given a full workout on this song, which rounds out nicely with some rolling keyboard lines, and classic rock blues soloing.
Crystal Visions Open Eyes begins and ends with some slight, jangly-drone guitar, but these parts just bookend the throbbing, lysergic glow that embodies the song’s heart.
Plumajilla and its insistent, gutbucket riffing and much more straight up vocal parts shifts the vibe for a time, before phasing into an introspective groove / spaghetti western scene halfway in. A very cool tune, too.
Slowly building, and with a whole fistful of ‘50s sci-fi effects at their disposal, Shifting Sands is perhaps the most ‘fun’ tune on this LP. Certainly one of the highlights on this record, for me anyway.
Pillars Of The Sky is hauntingly surreal and capped off with some piano and organ, which, for me at least, completes the scene they work so hard to recreate.
These guys create a melting pot of sounds and at times it can be hard to tell if the songs create the sounds, or the sounds create the songs. Organs, fuzz boxes and synths all play their roles, as do the band members themselves. Epic sonic soundscapes are seemingly carved out of nothing, and leave behind some awesome songs with great depth and power, and a telling portrait depicting the talent behind Mondo Drag.