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Melding laid back jazz, bluesy guitar licks and progressive rock, Ron Hubble is the latest studio helping from the Sydney psych gurus Gypsys of Pangea.
Gypsys Of Pangea strut their stuff with charm and attitude on their latest album Ron Hubble. It the perfect gift for that psych rock fan in your life.
Initially fuelled by the success of a high school collaboration between frontman Luciano Becher, bassist Oscar Veliks and keyboardist-percussionist Lochie Earlthe trio have been kicking around the Sydney music scene since 2009. Driven by a mutual affinity for bluesy jazz jams and retro psychedelia the group’s electric live sets has quickly attracted a dedicated following of pysch enthusiasts. Since 2013 Earl and Veloks have also been lending their musical talents to neo-psych outfit Raindrop.
From the get go the surrealistic interplay of debut album Ron Hubble’s distorted guitar licks, exploratory progressions and lo-fi production evokes a rock sound akin to underground 60s acts like Soft Machine. But the group’s extended jazz psych-outs are also tempered by some idyllic folk rock leanings reminiscent of Crosby, Stills & Nash tracks like Wooden Ships. The album also contains some heavier riff driven moments taking cues from bombastic electric blues acts Cream and Led Zeppelin.
The LP kicks off with aptly named opener Hi. Starting out as a sparse piano arrangement with minimal percussion, the track subtly builds into a floating jazz instrumental. Journey with the Dark Dog builds momentum with harder hitting 60s psych-blues. Distorted lo fi vocals add gravitas to worn-out and dejected lyrics like “Every night I have the same dream/I feel as though I’m dying.”
Similar to Pink Floyd’s studio indulgences circa Atom Heart Mother and Ummagumma, Ron Hubble is interspersed with interludes UAC, The Postman and Rising. Each track employs left-of-centre found sound vocals to provide some lightweight comedic moments. Show Me the Stars’ bottom heavy jazz funk counterbalances some seriously phased-out fretwork while the song’s protagonist rages against urban entrapment.
The Suit creates a slick lounge feel with an effortlessly rolling bass line and easygoing blues solos. Compared to the epic closer Prawns and Petrol of previous EP Limiten Sum, Real Eyes is subdued and more melancholic. The final track sends things out on a high note with memorable wah-wah guitar licks which send the track drifting into a floating psychedelic haze.
For those looking to mellow out to cosmic jams Ron Hubble is not going to disappoint. There is little question that the group have the lackadaisically progressive side of things down-pat. This said a non-prog enthusiast might wonder if some of the talent and electricity of the group would sound channelled into a shorter, sharper and more fiery riff based number or two capture some more of that impact less stridently structured rock can provide live but sometimes loses when reduced to sound recordings.
But regardless the young talents have delivered more excellent psych. There’s certainly anticipation that there’s much more to come from the Sydney trio.