Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Psychiatric Metaphors, 33 Thorne Street, 2014

Album Review

I wonder sometimes, when listening to an artist's work, how much of what I'm hearing is really that person and how much is simply a character or a construct. Know what I mean? I'm guessing it's usually a little bit of both, tilting more heavily in one direction or the other depending on the individual.

One way or another, Psychiatric Metaphors' 33 Thorne Street is a glimpse into the mind of Ocean County's Sam Taylor, who wrote, recorded, produced, and played everything on his debut LP. The collection consists of 8 relatively dark tracks covering murder, paranoia, unrequited (stalkerish?) love, and, maybe, the supernatural. Each comes bathed in Psychiatric Metaphors' swirling psychedelia. The entire effect is satisfyingly weird and, yes, "trippy."

"Stone Bros. Know" gets things started by telling the tale of an ill-fated, late-night encounter with Jim Stone's knife. The music pulses and vibrates as Taylor sneers out the story. Next, the title track delivers a spacey vibe as Taylor sings of one of those scary, not necessarily deserted houses from which everyone tells you to steer clear. Both tracks rely on a Krautrock-y repetition to drum their way into your brain. It's a technique that characterizes much of the record.

"She's So Fine" adds organ for even more of a retro feel, Taylor's narrator admiring the title character from afar. The best way I can think of to describe "Mr. President" is to suggest that, as you watch the State of the Union Address, you think about the subtext, man. What's he really saying to us -- doing to us, even -- through that TV screen?

"Elevator" includes the invitation to "take a ride. Lose your mind." It ends with "13th floor. Elevator," indicating that the song may be a reference to one of Taylor's obvious influences.

Whether we're hearing Taylor or just what he's capable of dreaming up in all of the songs on 33 Thorne Street is the kind of thing I wonder about when I hear records like this. Either way, though, Psychiatric Metaphors deliver a form of mind expansion by letting you into the mind of a creative and devout disciple of all things psychedelic.

33 Thorne Street is available as a Name Your Price download over at Psychiatric Metaphors' Bandcamp pageYou can catch Psychiatric Metaphors this Thursday at New Brunswick's Court Tavern with The Schackletons, Polaroids, and Just Waiting.

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