Psychedelic Sunday lives to bring you the latest and greatest music in the Midwest, but we also like to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This is where Psychedelic Sunday International comes in. Every so often we’ll break away from the states to showcase what’s happening elsewhere in the world of psychedelic music. This week, I’m very happy to bring to your attention Australia’s very own, The Laurels.
I caught up with the band just minutes before their very first US performance at Austin Psych Fest last April. They were thrilled to be in the states, playing among an amazing lineup of psych acts from around the world.
Their debut full-length, Plains, which was a few years in the making, hit the US just two weeks before the band did. The wait was well worth it. The album is a remarkable collection of catchy shoegaze and psychedelic pop songs.
When asked to name three albums that had an influence on their sound, they had answers that ranged from Liquid Swords by GZA, Kick Out The Jams by MC5, and Neil Young’s On The Beach. This wide scope of influences has helped craft a band who have an amazing knack for reinterpreting the past into a brilliant sound of their own.
Their pop roots run just as deep as their shoegaze influences. A song like “Manic Saturday” sounds like it would fit right in among a collection of ’60s garage rarities, with it’s Beatles-esque melodies and fuzzy guitar riffs.
Just as British groups like My Bloody Valentine and Ride, who pioneered the shoegaze sound, The Laurels hit you with a sonic barrage of guitars that gives a whole new meaning to the term “wall of sound”.
To emulate the layered guitar sound of their record with only two guitarists, their live show has to be LOUD. For that reason, The Laurels’ have quickly earned a reputation for playing very loudly (and well), both in their home country and across the globe. Their American debut in Austin was nothing short of spectacular.
The band has quickly cemented themselves as one of the most exciting acts to come out of Australia in recent years. The buzz around them is certainly well deserved. Plains is a brilliant debut, one that I’ve gone back to time after time and enjoyed even more after every listen.
Released on Sydney label, Rice is Nice, Plains is available to download for $14.95 AUD (or $14.33 USD for us westerners.) I hope a physical vinyl copy will be available in the states someday, but until then, stream the album, buy it, and play it loud.
The Laurels played a string of successful west coast dates in support of Acid Mother’s Temple, last May, but have yet to return to the states since. Keep your fingers crossed for a US tour sometime in 2014, or if you live down under, catch their live set as soon as you can.