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It’s becoming widely known that psychedelic music has seen resurgence in recent years due, in no small part, to the radio-friendly psych explorations of our friend Kevin Parker. Thanks to their colossal impact on listeners and artists alike, it’s difficult not to draw comparisons when faced with emerging psych acts. However, in their second full length album, The Dandelion have proven themselves worthy of isolation from such connections with a relentless sound that wears their unique stamp proudly.
Seeds, Flowers and Magical Powers of the Dandelion is the title for the follow up to The Dandelion’s well-received debut full-length effort, Strange Case of the Dandelion. The new release shows a band that has built upon the solid foundation that was their debut without venturing too far from their signature retro soundscapes.
*Photo credit: Heather Vousden
Seeds, Flowers and Magical Powers of the Dandelion sees the Sydney four-pice take 60s influences into strange, ghostly, entrancing new territory without straying too far from doing what they do best.
Album opener, I Stole the Medicine Man is a predominantly instrumental track that sets the tone of warm, fuzzy guitar leads swimming in a pool of 60s vibes courtesy of rumbling, Ringo-esque drums and comforting bass. We are also introduced to one of the album’s mainstays, an electric organ sound that remains in your consciousness long after the headphones are removed.
Perhaps one of the catchiest riffs of the LP is the anchoring motif of In The Shadow of Light played initially on a sweet sounding classical guitar and soon mirrored and developed by every instrument, meandering together cementing the jangling hook. Lyrically, the LP is focused predominantly on supernatural, mystic musings on love, life and ethereal wonderings through space and time.
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The vocals are reminiscent of Marc Bolan’s sweet serenade of old and complement the instrumentals perfectly, although occasionally becoming buried under a vast bed of reverb, rendering some stories difficult to decipher. The album takes on more of a folk atmosphere in Garden Witchcraft which sounds like the soundtrack to a dance orgy of gnomes in the depths of a tangled forest. Ode To Love pairs vocals creating a trippy conversation of love and loss.
The lush textures in Seeds, Flowers and Magical Powers just keep building with each track. Layers of fuzzed out guitar married with menacing circus organ and airy flute lines riding on the rumbling rhythm section becomes a familiar friend on the journey of this LP. The electric organ, in particular, is a definitive and recurring sound of this album and stays within the mind of the listener.
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Flavours of sitar are a welcome differentiation in the likes of Malkaus and Spring Dance – the latter being one of the album’s highlights. The sounds made famous by the Beatles, the Byrds and Tim Buckley, among others, in the psychedelic era of the 60s come to mind vividly with almost every track. Towards the end of the album, the realization sets in of how truly unrelenting it is. The assault of 60s psych is overwhelming and surrounds you in an iridescent sea of sound.
A Sweet Death Song is a shining example of one of the standout elements of the instrumentation for The Dandelion in it’s glitchy, harsh clean guitars tremolo picked to within an inch of their lives. The chainsaw effect of such intense string plucking engulfs the album in a whole new perspective of energy.
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