California’s Mondo Drag are all about psychedelic atmospheres, of which any Pink Floyd, Doors or Led Zeppelin fan is going to notice right away. There’s even some of that Goblin influence in the keyboards, which always sweetens the atmosphere for me. Rolling right out of the seventies, chances are that you’re going to want to have enough weed and LSD before you push play on this one. Of course, you don’t really need either if you simply close your eyes and let the soundscapes laden within “In Your Head (Part I & II)” take complete control of your consciousness, as they will. Other than the guitar atmospheres performed by Jake Sheley and Nolan Girard, you also have the vocal prowess of John Gamiro who also handles the synths (along with Girard) as well as the organ and piano that you’ll hear mixed together on this impressive trip through, well… wherever it decides to take you, really.
Mondo Drag are the kind of band that doesn’t even need to rely on vocals for most of the show, as instrumental “Incendiary Procession” showcases brilliantly. When I listen to such a piece, I’m completely transported by pure musical magic, which picks me up and carries me off without even so much as a warning. It sounds sort of like a drug trip, and it very well might be. Most of this music was indeed created by musicians of very experimental lives, which factored greatly into their music as we can see is being referenced here. While not every song on the disc (like “Ride The Sky” for example) is a complete journey of the mind, it makes sense that they’d also want to have more vocal pieces in which to demonstrate the fact that Gamiro can and wants to sing on the disc as well as decorate it with all of the theatrics that I’m hearing here. Though this style is nothing really new and there have been several retro-revivalist acts as of late, it’s great to see an act that really stands out amongst hundreds of others in the same vein, some of which also made it into my promise pool. Obviously the Finns are killing it with their interpretations of this kind of music, but it’s good to see an American act following in the footsteps of the genre’s progenitors while at the same time managing to stand out as not just another clone. As you all know, I’m quite fond of these little drug trips and I usually talk highly of the majority of them. But Mondo Drag definitely have something more than I hear in a lot of these acts and that’s ever more a reason to give them some support. The record will be available closer to the end of the month, but you can check out a few tracks right now on the Bandcamp page, especially “Incendiary Procession” which is a good appetizer for the album’s closing buffet “The Eye.” This is definitely psychedelic rock done right and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
(8 Tracks, 43:00)