Fort Wayne Indiana’s Heavens Gateway Drugs had been a name I’d seen popping up all over the web but for whatever reason I hadn’t taken the time to listen to or check them out live (they have played Chicago a number of times after all).It wasn’t until ECHO Fest Detroit that I got to catch their live set but before that I was handed their new album Apropos. It seemed now was the time to finally dive right into these guys.
I didn’t waste any time. I listened to the album two times through on the 4 hour car ride back from Detroit. It was the right mix of jangly psych-pop and catchy garage beats to keep me awake at 3am.
The album’s opener “Read Between The Lines” has some nice Brit-Pop sounding vocals that cascade across some groovy guitar lines. The next track “Gone To Ground” is a little more of a brooding psychedelic tune. The songs builds upon this dark, drone-y tone and becomes a fuzzed out explosion of sounds by the end of it.
The album really kicks in with the title track “Apropos”. I find myself singing the chorus to this one all the time now. It’s a simple tune but an extremely catching one. Give it a shot, I’m sure it’ll get stuck in your head too.
The mood shifts once again into the slow, almost doo-wop sounding “Hate/Love”. There are some very groovy parts within this mellow psych tune. “Underwater” picks thing up again and brings back that ’60s pop vibe that the band does so well.
“Six Steps” is where some of that heavy psychedelic influence comes back in. The song is a trippy adventure with loads of mellotron and tremolo. It wouldn’t be too out of place on The Beatle’s Magical Mystery Tour. The vocals are enough to take you away to a far away land.
Nearing the end of the album, the track “Secrets” sounds as if it came straight out of a previous decade and found it’s way onto this 2014 album. Another instant favorite of mine. However, the next track, “What It’s Like To Die” will really get you moving, the somber subject matter is juxtaposed by surf-rock guitars and a driving bass and drum rhythm.
The closer, “Fall Back Down Again” is a nice end to this phenomenal record. The keyboard heavy number is a psych-pop masterpiece that is the perfect cherry on top of this sundae.
Heaven’s Gateway Drugs sound is part UK psych a la The Pretty Things mixed with the garage-y swagger of a band like Thee Oh Sees. This album sounds as retro as it does modern and has already become a favorite of 2014 for me. Like any good psychedelic album should, Apropos takes on a variety of moods. From dark and somber to light and airy and into plenty of trippy avenues in between the two. Highly recommended listening for casual and heavy psych fans alike.
Apropos is available via bandcamp in either digital format or CD for just $10. Give the full album a listen and figure out what you’re missing.