Thursday 26 May 2022

GYPSYBYRD ~ VISIONS ...... review


Multi-instrumentalist Jake W Lewis, the brains behind Burn Ritual and King Earth, has revived his partnership with Sun of Grey bassist Freddy Allen to propel back into flight one of his other ongoing projects the mighty Gypsybyrd. Now those of you familiar with Jake's work will know that both Burn Ritual and King Earth were projects that come from a place of DOOM, riff heavy affairs inspired by the likes of Sabbath and bands of that ilk, those same people will also know that Gypsybyrd's debut outing, "Eye Of The Sun" came from a more heady, hazy and psychedelic place far removed from the heavy doomic darkness of his previous projects. In conversations Desert Psychlist had with Jake prior to the release of "Eye Of The Sun" we sensed a little apprehension about how this new lysergic flavoured direction might be received by those who might be expecting another Burn Ritual, would they buy into his vision or would they just turn away in their droves. Jake needn't have worried "Eye Of The Sun" was received with as much, if not more, praise as his previous projects and saw the album rocket up to #16 in January 2020's Doom Charts as well as featuring in many of that years Best of 2020 lists. This year (2022) with his new album, "Visions" we expect Jake to not only emulate the success he had with "Eye Of The Sun" but to go further and surpass it, yes it really is that GOOD!  

Things get off to fine start with "Crimson Earth" its languid tempo and hazy dynamic is measured by what can only be described as a simple and straightforward drum pattern it is however what goes on around that drum pattern that is of real interest. Shimmering percussion and a low liquid bassline are the bedrock around which Lewis layers multiple guitar tracks, swirling keyboard textures and a vocal that sits nicely at the falsetto end of the spectrum. Lewis being Lewis can't help but throw a few crunchy riffs about from time to time but nothing really nasty and they tend to lean more towards the Floyd-ian rather than they do the Sabbath-ian ."Born of Electricity" follows and once again the vocals are pitched high and hazy, there is an almost late 60's feel to things here, a mixture of psychedelic guitar textures similar in essence to those from the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and the harder bluesier Quicksilver Messenger Service all spliced together with a bit of fuzzy heavy psych from the present day. Up next is "Fly With Me" a song destined  to be a fan  favourite simply due to its ear-catching guitar motifs and Allen's deliciously addictive bass line. Given Lewis' doom credentials it is not surprising that some of that ol' dankness creeps into his work with Gypsybyrd and on "The Fog" it most certainly does only this is not really doom it just possesses qualities from that genre and those are soon blown away when the song shifts into early Santana territory in its final throws. "Soul On Fire" is probably the closest Lewis gets to an out and out blues song on "Visions", it is a stunning mix of hazy 70's heaviness and late 60's American psychedelia decorated in mellow laid back vocal tones. "Captive By Your Choices" and the short instrumental "Earth Meets The Sun" follow, the former a hook laden mid tempo psych workout the latter a Floyd-ian flavoured post-rock jam notable for its swirling synths and spacious dynamics. "Travel The Universe" closes "Visions", its heavy crunching riffs, offset by languid and luscious keyboard textures, soaring guitar solos and hazed vocal tones is the perfect end to what has been a thoroughly enjoyable time spent in the company of a couple of top notch musicians.

"Visions" is an album ideal for listening to on a pair of quality headphones while smoking something exotic and herbal, an album that doesn't bludgeon but caresses and hugs you in a warm embrace, the perfect soundtrack to a warm hazy summer.
Check it out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

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