Review: Psychic Ills – Inner Journey Out

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Psychic Ills encourage their listeners to take an vacation out of themselves with their newest record, Inner Journey Out.

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Like Tame Impala’s 2015 album Currents, Psychic Ills’ new release Inner Journey Out sees not a departure from their original sound but instead the band branching out to experiment with other genres rather than sticking to the comfort of the psychedelic rock scene. Inner Journey Out has been in the works for three years, meaning that the final product not only has weight in terms of time in production, but also through the period of time in which the ideas of frontman Tres Warren and bassist Elizabeth Hart have had to sink into their pores.

Another difference with this Ills venture is that both Warren and Hart have given their musical reins to a multitude of guest artists, including Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval on the bluesy, 60s-esque track ‘I Don’t Mind.’ This mixture of musicians contributes to the record having a more layered tone compared to Psychic Ills’ purposely overdubbed counterparts. Other contributors to the record include touring keyboard player Brent Cordero with his Farfisa and Wurlitzer organs, Chris Millstein, Harry Druzd of Endless Boogie, Derek James of The Entrance Band, and Charles Burst, one of the record’s engineers. As mentioned in the press release, “these musicians build the frame on which Warren lays his hazy guitar and vocals. An endless array of friends and guests also provide pedal steel guitar, horns, strings, and backing vocals, which culminate in a career-defining moment for the Ills.”

There is no denying it. Inner Journey Out is an in-depth exploration of where one can go within the psychedelic rock genre, which is surely something that is welcome in this current music climate. The Ills provide a revitalisation to the genre with their own means by combining the psychedelic with gospel, blues, and jazz.

The entirety of the record is an inner journey out from oneself, with the majority of the tracks evoking a calmness and tranquility, making itself the perfect counterpart for the summer, especially with the likes of ‘Another Change,’ a gospel and blues-infused song with a psychedelic twist. Accompanied by a memorable riff throughout the song, it’s soothing and hazy. ‘Baby’ is another track that harnesses this, setting itself apart from ‘Another Change’ with its use of the flanger pedal and slide guitar.

Lyrically, the record seems to be instilling that very concept of finding a sense of serenity. It instills the feeling of being high with the means (in this case, the record) to do so. ‘No Worry’ is the most relatable to this concept, telling the listener to literally just chill, let life seep in, to let go of inhibitions and worries, and give your mind a rest.

Inner Journey Out culminates as a perfect summer record, especially for those that need a moment to free their mind and let themselves go for a few months. The Psychic Ills themselves encourage you to do so.

Inner Journey Out is released June 3rd via Sacred Bones Records.

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A film student stuck in a 90s timewarp of FBI agents, UFOs, conspiracy theories, alternative rock and grunge.

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