Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Satan's Pilgrims - Psychsploitationdotdotdotdot
artworkUpon first listening, you might expect this to be some lost gem from the Hollywood studio system of 1967, like maybe an unreleased Allshire or Ed Cobb experiment. That's because Satan's Pilgrims clearly put a great deal of energy and thought into mimicking what the session producers, engineers and musicians did in the hey day of psychsploitation. All that work has paid off in my opinion. Psychsploitation is a very strong set of surf and psych and sunshine pop instrumentals that merit your attention. I was particularly pleased that they chose to cover Peter Pan and the Good fairies' "Kaleidoscope."
Picks: Dilation, In The Past, Chestnut Trees & Bumblebees, Tomorrow Night's Mourning, Kaleidoscope, Tracers (Of Love), Night Of The Face, Colours Of Your Mind, Psycle Pswami, Rainy Day Green Stop Sign, 10,000 Mirrors

Track by Track Review

Dilation dotdotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

This is a delightfully hypnotic track bordering on psychsploitation, but its surf guitar tone adds a dimension. The haunting tremolo throb and and backwards guitar are perfect! "Dilation" is just superb!

In The Past dotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

The Chocolate Watchband's "In The Past" is ground out with some fuzz and a more surfish arrangement. It works very well, and nods soulfully to Ed Cobb and Richard Podolor's arranging.

Chestnut Trees & Bumblebees dotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Boy is this song right on the money of period pop psych sounds. "Chestnut Trees & Bumblebees" has circling organ and the chord progressions to be right out of the day. Its surf guitar tone is a bit retro for the period, but this is sure cool, especially the nearly faux sitar guitar tone and the backward cymbal ending.

Tomorrow Night's Mourning dotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Twanged fuzz, haunted organ, and an Ed Cobb-ish progression add up to session psych. "Tomorrow Night's Mourning" is not just period, it's very nicely thought out and played. Very cool!

Wylde Tymes dotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

"Wylde Tymes" is more jam like than I like, and seems less genuine than others here. I'm not sure why I feel that way exactly - perhaps it's the progression or the relatively uncluttered production.

Kaleidoscope dotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

This is a song I've been waiting for a long time to see covered. Peter Pan and the Good Fairies' "Kaleidoscope" is done with a distant sound in a haunted reverb wash that makes it really spooky and unlike the original. The production values give it a whole new air. Quite interesting!

Tracers (Of Love) dotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Tremolo pulses strongly, sunshine pop choruses emote, and a lovely melody ensues. The surf guitar gives it a romantic feeling, and the cycling phasing places it in pop-psychsploitation land. It's amazing how genuine and artistic, i.e. not making fun of the genre that Satan's Pilgrims can be. Great production.

Night Of The Face dotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Mental defective echoed narrative and rising pulsating sounds open, and then the song becomes more intense and rock oriented. The lead is distant and low compared to the stereo chords, which for me, makes "Night Of The Face" less effective than it could be, though by the time the intense psych ends arrives, doesn't matter much.

Colours Of Your Mind dotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

"Colours Of Your Mind" is a slower song with a hook riff and melody right out of 1967's creative studios, only better. Easy to enjoy, tremolo groovy, and melodically soothing, while psychedelic in structure and sound, and the active panning bits add to the period groove. Very well thought out.

Psycle Pswami dotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Ah, the ps vs. c! Like a Davie Allan fuzzer had it been captured at Allshire instead on the Curb, "Psycle Pswami" is a totally cool psychedelic fuzz popster with charm and interesting textural blends.

Rainy Day Green Stop Sign dotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Born of those twelve string and sitar folkrock epics, "Rainy Day Green Stop Sign" is melodic, psychedelic, and endearing. This progresses from ringing to writhing, and the melody is simple, but really nice.

Psych-A-Go-Go (Psych Out) dotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

"Psych-A-Go-Go (Psych Out)" is a stomp with go-go edges and howling psych buffers. Like many of the go-go instros, it is just too much riff and progression and too little melody for my taste.

10,000 Mirrors dotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Percussion oozing from haunting spatial reverb and broad chords, plus fuzz and a very nice riff are enhanced by engaging production values. While musically repetitious, the textures and production evolutions keep it interesting.