Album Review: Los Tones – Psychotropic

It’s no secret that ‘Straya is booming right now on the garage front. Ramshackle mind-obliterating LP’s have been released recently from the likes of The Frowning Clouds, Straight Arrows and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard seem to pop up with a new album every few months (their fifth comes out in a few weeks). But there’s a contendor in the ring, a possible Muhammad Ali to the reigning Sonny Liston’s of the rock n roll scene of Aus. They’re called Los Tones, they’re from Sydney, get around ’em quick smart, because these guys are going to be doing a little bit of alright in the next few years, especially if they can maintain the momentum of their debut album.

‘Psychotropic’ is a record with serious brawl, thudding bass lines intermingling with 60’s guitars at a dangerous pace. It’s surf rock placed in a criminal context. Surely this kind of thing must’ve been going through Dennis Wilson’s mind when he was brandishing a drug habit to rival Charlie Sheen, and hooking up with Charlie Manson. It’s slightly deranged, a little bit psychotic, but very, very fun. It’s like an audio version of your crazy boyfriend/girlfriend who gives you the best sex ever, but then burns down your house to the soundtrack of a Guitar Wolf album.

This record thrives on the freak-outs, of which there are plenty. Like Jellbellys, everyone’s going to have a favourite, and my personal heartbreaker is the melting guitar solos and organ inflections of “Cry”. But, hey, that’s just me. Some of you might like the tingling pelvis swaying in “Buchanan Hammer”, others can live off the rapid-fire boogie  of “Waste of Space”, a track that takes Drunk Mums’ depraved excitement and injects it with the soundtrack from a Quentin Tarantino film.

This is a rock ‘n’ roll record, through and through. Every moment is scorched in blazing hot guitar, the entrails of all other genres laid bare in the wake of this destructive album. Some might say that there could be a lack of diversity, but instead of that, I view it as a lack of spreading the energy. The closest thing that Los Tones get to an “average” pace is the charming and snarling “Ordinary Man”, which is still quite the bombast. However, Los Tones quickfire energetic performance isn’t really much of a critique. I mean, it’s fair better to stay in the loose and reckless part of the meter, rather than risk fucking up the whole thing with some ballad that doesn’t fit in anywhere.

The point of “Psychotropic” is to introduce the world to a very vibrant and completely un-ordinary garage band. They’ve got a love for the old-school that transcends the trap that most rock ‘n’ roll bands fall into, in that they mime too hard, and end up a cliche. Los Tones are too committed to being ruthlessly authentic, that their debut LP is simply too good for any garage fans to pass up. Play this shit loud, and thrash it until you’re record is just flimsy wax. Then buy another one. Repeat until the apocalypse.



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