It’s no illusion, Magic America absolutely nail their take on tripped-out psych rock

In the wake of the release of Tame Impala’s Currents last July there is little question that Australia has been plunged into a rabid frenzy for just about anything psych. But with Kevin Parker’s nuanced production and catchy riffs bombarding us from the airwaves, as well as a seemingly endless number of rock bands strategically rebranding to meet demand it seems that for all but the most diehard enthusiasts the concept of ‘psychedelic’ has become a little stretched and perhaps even a little tired.

Fortunately for the psych genre, acts like Magic America are setting themselves apart from a slew contemporaries and the long shadow of Kevin Parker. Proving that there is still some vitality left in the world of psychedelic rock, Magic America’s debut EP weaves dreamy psychedelia with catchy alt-rock into some great tracks.

Magic America shock me sober

Feeling a little bloated by all the hazy psych-rock vibes? Magic America keep things lean with their self-titled debut EP that stands out from the psych crowd.

Melancholy opener Comes and Goes sees the Melbourne quartet kick things off in grandiose rock style. Exploring introspective themes of isolation, the track combines melancholy vocal drones with rich layers of atmospheric instrumentals that spill in to one another to create truly ambrosial sonic textures. After starting out with some simple but effective riffs evocative of the phased-out four note riffage of Status Quo’s seminal psych track Pictures of Matchstick Men, the track climaxes with a transcendent guitar solo.

No doubt the group’s pairing with Melbourne producer David Turner (also known for his work with rock contemporaries The Delta Riggs and Dumb Blondes) has helped the quartet delve deeply into the subtleties of pysch rock production and deliver a truly mercurial sound.

Shock Me Sober echoes Tame Impala’s signature sound circa Lonersim with a driving rhythm section taking centre stage. Toning down the ambience but not entirely doing away with those swirling hypnotic guitar riffs tracks I’m Not Dying and I Thought I Told You steer the EP closer towards alt-rock. With the band citing Blur as a key influence it comes as little surprise that I Thought I Told You takes on an anthemic brit-pop quality before devolving into a shimmering guitar solo.

An ad hoc addition to the EP during production, the spontaneous closer Holly feels a little out of place. While at times imbuing the group’s core psych-rock sound with a rockier edge Holly seems to depart entirely. Channelling a restless energy which is somewhere between The Rolling StonesStreet Fighting Man and Nirvana’s Polly, the track shows that the group aren’t afraid to reach a little further afield.

Transitioning from mercurial psychedelia to poppier rock tracks, Magic America’s debut showcases an emerging psych group with knack for songwriting and an infectious passion for rock music that may well pave the group’s way toward being one of Australia’s leading psych acts. Definitely worth a spin.