When psychedelic rock music was first introduced in the 1960s, the world went nuts. Known for its attempt to replicate the mind-altering effects of hallucinogenic drugs, psychedelia has a unique ability to create its own ambience and signature sound. From Jimi Hendrix to the Grateful Dead, psychedelic artists still have a great influence over music today.
Flashing forward a few decades, the neo-psychedelic artists of the 21st century are still going at it — but this time, with a modern twist. That’s where Desert Sound Colony comes in.
The London-based trio can easily be described as modern psychedelia, infusing hazy reverb-heavy guitar with an electronic backdrop. Basically, if Glass Animals and Tame Impala had a brooding love child, you’d have Desert Sound Colony.
Desert Sound Colony Blend Psychedelia with Electronics
Their latest release, a two-track EP entitled Signals, is jam-packed with a series of textured layers that show off the band’s cool groove.
Though it’s kind of a subjective term, “cool” is probably one of the best ways to describe this music. It’s both fast and slow; it’s mellow and hyped up; it’s psychedelic and dance-club. It’s the kind of tune that naturally bobs heads and entices bodies to sway along to the beat.
The EP’s title track opens up with a few soft guitar chords, slowly making its way to the chorus with the help of a snare beat and the almost angelic reverb of the vocals. There is a faint bongo drum in the background that adds such a great density to the drumline with the least amount of effort. “Hit me with a spark / signals in the dark,” sing the vocals, egging the song on to show off its electronic components.
Part two of the EP, “Moon Juice,” packs a harder punch with a stronger bass line, creating even more of a groove that accentuates the neo-psychedelic sounds of the band. As the bass jams out to its own beat, soft guitar triplets and reverbs upon reverbs accompany the lead singer’s falsetto.
At one point, the clear contrast between the harder synth beats and the dim vocals blend so well together that it feels like two worlds are colliding: the soothing sounds of 1960s psychedelia and the computerized thumps of modern electronica. Desert Sound Colony has this ability to layer the sounds really well and then add subtle elements, like a hint of guitar or a small tremolo here and there, that really spice up the track and give it the hype it needs.
It’s almost a shame that the EP ends there, giving listeners only a mere taste of Desert Sound Colony’s artistic capability. Regardless of this tease, the band manages to not only maintain certain traditions of the 1960s hippy culture, but to also expand on this sound to cater to a modern audience.
A perfect fit for Coachella, Desert Sound Colony is the flower child of millennials worldwide and Signals is their manifesto.