DTSQ turn up the maddening psychedelia on new album 'Neon-Coloured Milky Way'.
Neon-Coloured Milky Way (2018)
Let’s face it, there was an awful lot about 2017 that was terrible. Near self-fulfilling prophecies of doom seemed to infiltrate every facet of life for the duration of the year. There was a potentially unrealistic yet inescapable sense of catastrophe haunting us all like Harvey the Rabbit. 2018 is going to be different though, we think. Released on New Year’s Day, it’s hard to tell whether DTSQ’s psychedelic magnum opus Neon-Coloured Milky Way is here to save us from our ill-fate or devilishly drag us feet first into our maddening demise.
Neon-Coloured Milky Way is the brand new album from Seoul-based psychedelic sticker brandishers (if you’ve been to any bar in Hongdae, you know) DTSQ. The blistering twelve-track record is joyously aggressive; marrying Sgt Pepper style pop with 90s neopsychedelia. All of these filtered through a wall of heavily laid guitar.
There’s an aloof sense of apocalypse to the album that’s difficult to pin down. The cover depicts hellish beats and skeletons enjoying a swim underneath a scorched pink sky. The hallucinogenic, almost heavy metal riffs blast through the trippy compositions, inducing visions of fiery landscapes and skies filled with brimstone.
That’s not to say the album presents itself in any way doomful. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s a joyous record full of spark and humour. Album opener and recent single Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Is Coming is a funny yet bizarre, almost dreamlike track accompanied by a funny yet bizarre, almost dreamlike video. Many of the tracks are undeniably happy in their own maddening surrealist way, particularly towards the start of the album.
The band adopt the same glorious, yet almost obligatory use of middle-Eastern influences as The Beatles and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. This reinforces the band's creation of vivid imagery and gives affairs a spiritual, almost exotic feel.
With the introduction of other styles, DTSQ are able to build on their psychedelic sound without ever leaving the madcap island they audibly live on. Dime is an awesome track that summons the arid post-punk of early Cure in its verses and fuses it effortlessly to an epic Pink Flloyd-esque chorus. All My Friends Are Aliens is Thirteenth Floor Elevators-style rock and roll anthem.
If the album falls short anywhere it’s on the band's ill-advised excursion into baggy era Britpop on tracks Montgomery and Bad Vibes. While the rest of the album is focused on composition and songsmanship, these two fall back on riff-addled grooves. This might not be to everyone’s taste, yet the upbeat no-nonsense rock and roll of Montgomery and Bad Vibes makes them obvious candidates for crowd-pleasing tracks. The big, high-energy sound of these songs would translate well into live shows.
DTSQ go full-on Full Fathom Five with their track Reserved. The band laugh maniacally at The Stone Roses reversal of one track by running through a backwards rendition of their first ten songs in 50 seconds before going into epic album closer Neon-Coloured Milky Way.
Is the new DTSQ album a symbol of an inevitable 2018 armageddon? Almost certainly not. But if it does happen, Neon-Coloured Milky Way wouldn’t be a terrible soundtrack for it.
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