"Drowning Effect" (Vibraphone; 2019)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton


Drowning Effect's self-titled album is a tribute to late 60s psychedelic rock'n'roll with its droning guitars, its almost-as-droning vocals and its weird atmospheric sound. You can easily imagine sitting in a club somewhere in San Francisco, a Makers Mark, neat, on the table in front of you, the band live on stage, barely visible through the clouds of smoke (and not cigarette smoke), their music surrounding you like the giant, spectral--but comforting--hand of God.

Interestingly enough (but not surprisingly) Drowning Effect is in fact from San Francisco and, with this album, the band is taking full advantage of what seems to be a huge new interest in "psych rock." Stoner, Shoe Gaze ... all those other similar genres. They're hot now and Drowning Effect is ready for a piece of that action.

There's not a track on the album that didn't hold my attention, with the possible exception of "Electric Eyes." But you know me--I'm not a huge fan of the slow stuff and "Electric Eyes" is one of the slower songs on the CD. "Already Sold" is another but it's got considerable more edge and atmosphere, especially when those David Lynch sound effects sneak in near the track's end. Most of the other songs are somewhat faster, with lots of fuzzy guitars and effects. Call me shallow but I like my rock to rock.

My favorite tracks are "I Can't Change" with its tiki/surfer/stoner guitar; the high-energy "Hold Out" with its anthemic feel and the final track, a cover of The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," which Drowning Effect makes their own and that's no easy task.

Drowning Effect's self-titled album is an listening experience that might just expand your mind a little ... and isn't that the point of art anyway?

Drowning Effect: Thad Baker - guitar, vocals; James Spadaro - bass, guitar; Mark Loftin - drums, percussion.

For more information, check out http://www.drowningeffect.com.  

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2019 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.