(7 out of 10)
Of late, there seems to have been a notable trend toward gentility and precision when it comes to music that could broadly be classified as “psychedelic.” Although clearly it’s a good thing that there are more bands striving to alter your consciousness through music, after a while all that twee filigree and immaculate arranging gets a little … I don’t know, dull.
Thankfully, into that china shop of glo-fi pop comes trundling the meth-soaked, feedback-spewing bull of White Hills. For their fourth album in three years, this Brooklyn outfit continues their freak-rock mission of delivering Hawkwind-via-Spacemen 3-via-Loop dirge-drones, although on this self-titled release, the approach taken is even more unrelentingly visceral than before. Redlined to within an inch of its life – even the drums sound distorted – White Hills is a burly, messy voyage into the sweaty underbelly of psychedelia, populated with beefy riffs (like the fuzz-bass/fuzzier-guitar ones that anchor “Three Quarters”), evocative nonsense lyrics (like the unsettlingly ominous “leave this world behind/we are the sunshine” refrain in the epic “Polvere di Stelle”), and a general sense of dizzy disorientation throughout.
Whether on the relatively more restrained numbers (like “Glacial,” which is) or the frenetic and aggressive ones (like “Dead,” which is not), White Hills delivers a punishing and immersive reminder that not every trip is pleasant, but it’s the scary ones that are usually the most memorable.
Standout Tracks: “Three Quarters,” “Dead”