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The sub-culture of Psychedelia is nothing entirely new and, in our opinion, nothing short of a phenomenon. Encompassing the entire spectrum of colours, hallucinogens, music and artwork that aims to alter one’s consciousness or reveal depths of the mind once thought to be mythological. The psychedelic movement is no stranger to the human race, though in recent years a resurgence in its movement, likely due to the successes of bands like Tame Impala, Pond and Jagwar Ma, focusing on recent pop culture and in no way discounting our psychedelic forefathers, the list would simply be too long for our precious minds to handle.
Since 2009 Melbourne band The Demon Parade have been diligently developing and playing their own brand of psychedelic sound for the better part of a decade, yes 2009 is close to ten years ago*. Since then they’ve shared stages with Swervedriver, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Kingswood and Something For Kate, they worked with producer Tony Lash (The Dandy Warhols, Elliot Smith) and secured a spot on the 2013 BIGSOUND line up. Now with over 250 shows to their name the road most travelled has culminated in the release of their EP Stone Circles, a cohesive and fully formed release sticking true to a psychedelic’s belief and revealing your own mind.
We hope you packed your bags, because The Demon Parade are taking you on a trip. With melodies so dreamy they could melt the sky the band have returned to the scene with Stone Circles.
After a rather turbulent 2014 for front man Michael Badger, he dove into ancient civilisations, ruins and mythology, finding himself drawn to the near ten million stone circles all over South Africa that appear to be free energy generating devices capable of generating 300 gigahertz of sound frequency (let’s not melt our minds all at once shall we). That spiritual vibe and mystic air is translated seamlessly in EP opener She’s Dope, using a simple four-chord structure to set the velvet smooth scene before complementing it with and an eastern, Indian flavour from the sitar.
The sitar becomes the focus, the hook, as we are politely reminded we will be exploring the galaxy tonight but it won’t be by car. Further reinforced by follow-up track My Life In Pieces, a deceptively brilliant track that allows the listener to happily proceed on their nebulous path, all calm and dreamy in their atmosphere but like any trip there’s an underlying seriousness at play, just listen to the lyric, “I don’t really know what I’m looking for”.
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When the mind experiences turmoil one of its coping mechanisms is to find a ‘happy place’. Follow-up track Utopia feels very much like a form of catharsis for the band and Badger; tracking each instrument by himself in his garage, you can feel that personal flavour and intensity coming through in the song, like Badger has been kind enough to let us in to his dream. The drone of Brian Jonestown Massacre and field love vibes of the Stone Roses shine brightly in this standout.
If we are talking about coming home strong, closing tracks Die Alone and Sniper’s Eyes are bricks and mortar. If anyone out there has been on a trip, induced or not, they’ll be familiar with the ever present dark and slightly more ominous undertones just waiting to creep in. They begin to do so on Die Alone, a hazy track that builds a swelling, expansive atmosphere and just before you float too far off into a dream statements like “I will never be a liar, I’m gonna die alone” remind us there’s danger out there on the plains.
Sniper’s Eyes brings in a heavier sound, distorted guitars and rumbling drums to close our trip out with nothing short of an epic track. It feels like we’ve just peered out of our curtains to find the sky has melted in to the ground to create a veritable cornucopia of awesomeness that’s so amazing there’s got to be a dark side. Apparently recorded live, on very little sleep and terminally hungover that might be why we’re feeling an ominous tone.
Partly recorded live at rehearsal, partly in a garage and partly in Badgers’ half finished studio Labcoat Sound, The Demon Parade have truly created a stand alone psychedelic piece of work. It’s something that has us both excited to retreat into our own insular world and to explode forth in their live show. Oh, and look further in to South African stone circles for something truly mind boggling, if your mind can take it.
*ED. Six is closer to five really…
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