I’ve been wrestling with this review for a while now. I was going to just run to the keyboard and proclaim this as, “Not only the best album by ‘The Demons’, but also the best album this year,” but I stopped. I decided to give it a fair listen. I like to be really well versed in an album before I make such claims these days. This requires listening to it in different situations, like a kind of real-life soundtrack. I know it sounds stupid, but that’s how I rate ‘important’ albums, by how it filters into every-day situations, and how it ‘feels’…man.
This is, I think, the forth album by You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons, and their age is starting to show. I don’t mean that in a bad way; in fact I mean quite the opposite. I’ve always felt that the band have struggled to admit their addiction to huge Big Muff ridden riffs in recordings, and this album, like a junkie that’s been through a tough-love session, is their ‘coming-out’ record.
Opener ‘2009’ aurally punches you in the face with a super-fuzzed catchy riff, and we’re off. There is a familiarity present for any old fans, yet a nice amount of confident and spacey solo work that surprises. Feeling comfortable with the opener, ‘Nervous/Alive’ suddenly throws a huge curve-ball. A fantastic ‘old-school-done-right’ riff is picked up and thrown into a huge psyche-rock vortex, and spat out the other side magically charged. Feeling a little shaken, you are then thrust into the drone-ridden-epic ‘Alpha and Omega’. It’s this track where you really notice how well the vocals sit alongside the music, and how much the band really have embraced the fuzz!
‘The Recidivist’ returns to the krautrock-soaked catchy riffage of the opener, and then turns off into what feels like a two-parter reinterpretation of a Brion Gysin exhibition in ‘Out of Focus’ and ‘Jammin’ on the 13th Floor’. Singer Richie’s vocals really take on a new focus, gelling perfectly with the mood of the music. ‘Great Shakes Baby’ purposely forces you to nod your head along to the rhythmic drumming, and amazing wah-work, but it is the next track that ‘seals the deal’ for me.
‘Cruikshanked’ is, put simply, great song-writing. The riff feels oddly familiar, yet is so clearly the Demons. The vocals, one again, mesh perfectly with the music leaving an oddly intense feeling to the song. It then breaks off into a fun attack of sonic pleasure, returning for a second wave of intense, yet held-back riffing.
‘Prismatic Reflections’ almost feels like a bonus record. 18 minutes of truly spacey sounding, dare I say, ‘Desert Rock’ (odd, as they hail from the coastal town of Portsmouth). On completion of the track, you feel a bit like you’ve been through some kind of occult ordeal, up ‘The Holy Mountain’, or a part of an initiation of sorts.
This record feels like the album the Demons have always wanted to make, and I’ve always wanted to hear. So then, in closing: “This is Not only the best album by ‘The Demons’, but also the best album this year.”