Psychic Ills, Hazed Dream

Andy Beta

By Andy Beta

on 10.18.11 in Reviews

After seeing former Spaceman 3 member Pete “Sonic Boom” Kember in the producer’s chair for both MGMT’s Congratulations and Panda Bear’s Tomboy, Brooklyn’s Psychic Ills must be wondering what they have to do to get the man to record them, too. Their earliest albums drank Spacemen 3′s Kool-Aid, while 2009′s Mirror Eye saw the group wandering into the deep end of the drone pool. It might have aligned them sonically with such drugged-up projects such as 1971′s Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (see their follow-up here) or Boom’s own E.A.R. project, but Psychic Ills’ lost their focus in the process.

A return to form, or at least a return to structure

Consider Hazed Dream a return to form — or at least a return to structure — with songs eschewing the 10-minute mark for concise three-minute statements instead. Heavy-lidded opener “Midnight Moon” takes a walk down the street and might as well be “Walkin’ With Jesus” while “Incense Head” finds Tres Warren’s echoing mumble as assuaging as Jason Pierce’s used to be.

“Mind Daze” creates just that, phasing everything out to give it a disorienting lilt. At times, the album feels like a variation on a single theme (it’s no accident that one song is called “Dream Repetition”), but with their fourth album, the band has finally learned that a mellow daydream can be just as psychedelic as a heavy acid trip.