ALBUM: “Psychotropic” by Los Tones
RELEASE YEAR: 2015
LABEL: Groovie Records
BEST TRACKS: “Psychotropic”, “Buchanan Hammer” and “Ordinary Man”
I am a firm believer that Los Tones are one of the most underrated psych-rock bands out there. Hailing from Syndey, Australia, the foursome specializes in fuzzy, heavy surf rock. If you’re a garage fan, you may have heard their hit song “Buchanan Hammer” off this very album. However, “Psychotropic” has so much more to offer than their most popular single. It’s stuffed to the brim with heavy, sludgy, spooky goodness. Think skeletons-surfing-at-Goo-Lagoon-type-beat.
“Psychotropic” is both fast-paced and rich, keeping you enraptured at all times. I know we like to think of The Growlers or Allah-Las as the modern kings of “beach goth,” but I’d argue that Los Tones could easily snatch that crown away. Though they very obviously draw inspiration from old-school garage bands like The Sonics and The Seeds, they add a modern spin with their high energy and intense ferocity. Many acid rock bands mimic that signature growling vocal style, but their lead singer adds a sneering provocativeness that is truly unmatched. It’s easy for that style to sound abrasive or even apathetic, but Los Tones master it perfectly.
The best part about “Psychotropic” by far is their guitar work. Their axeman is obviously a guru when it comes to the reverb pedal. Though each song is extremely lively in its own way, the way they switch speeds and intensities is relishable. Tracks like “One Horse Race” and “Waste of Space” especially show off this artistry, especially the latter. Right at 1:33, there’s an amazing solo transition that’s absolutely to die for. “Speed Boat” is a spine-chilling tune, reminiscent of The Cramps’ horror-core punk.
If you’re a fan of any type of garage, surf, or early punk, you’ve just got to give “Psychotropic” a listen. You won’t regret it!
– DJ Butter