Recording information: Golden Void, San Fernando Valley, California; Seaside Lounge Recording Studios, Brooklyn, New York.
Photographers: Timothy Nazzaro; Kenny Jossick.
Remember several decades ago, when the Beatles asked us to turn off our minds, relax and float downstream? Psychic Ills clearly do, and if their approach to their music is a far cry from what the Fab Four were up to, they've created one of the truly great "drifting on a cloud of lysergic thought" albums with their fifth long-player, 2016's Inner Journey Out. Obviously built around the notion that less is more, Inner Journey Out is made up of slow, contemplative numbers that embellish circular guitar and keyboard patterns as the musicians reach out to their hypnotic potential. Approaching something like psychedelic minimalism, Inner Journey Out's 14 tracks don't offer much in the way of melodies or hooks, but give them half a chance and you'll sink deep into this album like it's a comfy easy chair. For the most part, Tres Warren's lyrics don't amount to much, and are clearly meant to not distract from the music. But he does show a playful wit when he wants to (especially on "Coca-Cola Blues"), and he uses guest vocalist Hope Sandoval (of Mazzy Star) to fine advantage on "I Don't Mind." The band knows how to switch gears from the peaceful meandering of "Hazel Green" to the mildly ominous "Confusion (I'm Alright)" without taking the listener out of the larger experience. And while it can be hard to generate a groove at such a deliberate pace, Psychic Ills make their unhurried rhythms signify, and the occasional appearance of guest musicians on horns, strings, or percussion helps keep these simple sounds absorbing and genuinely rewarding. Inner Journey Out isn't made for all listeners or all purposes, but anyone interested in a journey down a peaceful river of sculpted sound is advised to investigate its properties. ~ Mark Deming