Hailing from Calgary, the one and only KETAMINES are about to drop their debut LP “Spaced Out”. It’s a split release from both Mammoth Cave Recording Co. in Canada and Southpaw Records in the United States, filled to the brim with a charming form of psyched-out “bubblegum” garage-pop.
With a term like “bubblegum,” it really makes you wonder what the hell you’re getting yourself into. Mainly because it’s not a term we’re used to seeing to describe music everyday. However as you dig into this Ketamines record, you begin to start putting some qualities together that might help make up this sound, because really it comes down to how you interpret it. One fine example comes right in the beginning during “Teenage Rebellion Time”, which shows off peppy, bubbly psych-pop waves that might help speak for “bubblegum” psych. But it’s still way too early on in the game to put all your eggs in one basket. Let’s dig a little deeper and see what else we can find.
Despite the handful of songs that speak to this “bubblegum” conundrum, there’s also a good bunch that seem to go in the opposite direction. Take “Ketamine Babies” for example. The track is driven by a sharp and intricate guitar progression amongst the clanking cowbell and notions of paranoia, creating a foreboding, almost chilling strand of strung-out blues-psych. Following that, another track like “Skin Trade” brings back those innocent and bubbly vibes from earlier. Interspersed between choruses are jangly, spaced-out guitars that swirl and pop in the buoyant verses. It’s the swift and surfy choruses that change the vibe, almost like we’re teleporting back and forth between two conflicting ideas in the same song.
Other tracks like “Kill Me Now, Please” bring those pop influences to the forefront and help us characterize that teenybopper “bubblegum” term from earlier even better – catchy, poppy, energetic, bubbly, fun-loving, and don’t forget the use of hand claps – these descriptors and qualities could all help us understand where they’re coming from. The same goes for an undeniably catchy tune like “Evil Intentions” which screams noisy surf rock vibes despite the obvious perky pop traits. Self-titled track “Spaced Out” is another that just can’t be ignored – which by now you might notice is the pattern of this excellent record. Between pounding drums and the tightly woven guitar hooks, this song begins to spiral out of control into a calculated meltdown of destructive proportions – don’t miss it below.
As evidenced in another track like the instrumental “No Grand Design”, there are tons of subtleties and sound differences in most of these tracks that could potentially go unnoticed – like the underwater, hollow sounding sonar of “Teenage Rebellion Time” or the sweeping, strobe light textures of a song like “Skin Trade”. As for “No Grand Design”, the song is chock full of this – ranging from that metallic, high pitched guitar squeal to the shimmying of maracas, this bluesy jammer only gives us one more reason to be completely enamored with this entire record.
So when it’s all said and done, whether it’s the lysergic and quivering psychedelic tones of a track like “1 Yr” or the alluring pop charm of “Evil Intentions”, this record is destined to work it’s way under your skin. In fact, we would guarantee it actually, considering this is now one of our favorite albums this far into 2012. So do yourself a huge favor and go and preorder the LP from Southpaw Records (US custies) or Mammoth Cave (Canada custies) – both labels have a color edition of 100 that will be gone forever if you don’t act soon.
PS – You can listen to the record in its entirety on the Mammoth Cave Bandcamp page
Teenage Rebellion Time –
Ketamine Babies –
Evil Intentions –
Spaced Out –
My Rating: SS
Genre/ Tags: Garage Rock, Pop, Lo-Fi, Psychedelic, Surf Rock, Bubblegum
Spaced Out LP: Tracklist:
1.) Teenage Rebellion Time
2.) 1 Yr
3.) Midnight Dawn
4.) Ketamine Babies
5.) Skin Trade
6.) Kill Me Now, Please
7.) Evil Intentions
8.) Spaced Out
9.) No Grand Design
10.) The Runaround