Brace yourselves, boys and girls: when Psychedelphia decides to go off on one of their sonic excursions, it can be mind-bending. Me, I found it easier to imagine some of the cuts on the band’s newly-released Paradigm as the soundtracks to little mini-movies. Take “Asterisk” for example: first there’s the establishment of the opening happy scene (choose your location and theme) where everybody’s just smiling and going about their business. Around 1:20, there’s a little wisp of unrequited love, but nothing debilitating. The first hint of trouble comes just after the 2:00 mark where our hero/heroine first senses that all may not be perfect, but he/she can’t put their finger/claw on what’s wrong. Suddenly something sinister rears its ugly head in the background (right around 3:35, just so you won’t be scared); but nobody else is paying attention! Look out! There’s a chase scene; some time travel; lost subway tokens … but then … at 7:06, Princess Zork finds the Key To All Things and is able to let the dancing gerbils from Uranus free! Yay! There’s even an appropriate closing credits-style section at the end to accompany you on your long walk up the isle. Wow.
Yep – Psychedelphia knows how to shape-shift and genre-morph, fo’ sure. At times, you might come close to accusing them of musical ADD, but if you put an ear to what’s happening, you can usually find the common thread that connects the various passages. And they’re versatile: they can do the spacey/loopy/how-are-they-ever-going-to-land-this-thing stuff (“Nano”) as well as breathe underwater courtesy of the air trapped inside big ol’ bass bubbles (“Submerged”).
There are slightly Phishy moments – or more accurately, Trey-meets-Rob-Barracco-era-Zen-Tricksters-and-the-whole-works-goes-to-Carnival moments (“Putcha”). Sometimes they’re content to glide along like a mellow Steve Kimock Band (“Mezza Luna”) and sometimes I think they just like to mess with your head (the impossible to count, let alone play, time shifts of “Bonnie X”).
In the end, just be happy and listen, knowing that there isn’t going to be a quiz. Psychedelphia simply wants you to have fun, boys and girls.
As a wise man once said a long time ago, “If you get lost, just listen to the music play.”