Words by Keane Fletcher
Psychedelia's back y'all. Maybe it's all the down time we're experiencing. Maybe it's because the world's on fire. Maybe it’s because that 3pm edible just kicked in and you’ve got nowhere to be till October 18th. Whatever the reason, more and more artists are turning to the old-school stoner’s genre of choice to get their musical juices flowing, none more so than satirical rock musician Morrison Reed who’s latest psychedelia-laced album Spirit Haus (out today on FangIt! Records) is equal parts audacious, confounding, and bizarrely addictive.
Born during 2020’s first round of lockdowns (ah, remember those…), Spirit Haus is less an album than a series of interconnected dead-panned monologues (albeit monologues that are always accompanied by Hendrix-style guitar and horror-movie synths) and the result is an experience that feels confusing, though not in an entirely unpleasant way. Opening with the instrumental-only ‘Chakra Beam’, the album winds its way through a series of satirical set-pieces, ‘Hollywood’s In Rehab’, ‘Pool Party’, 'Beach Club XXX', and previously released single ‘HNY’ a fizzyingly-bombastic track that seems to take place at some kind of space-age fashion show. The title track is a particular highlight with its thudding bassline and video game soundscape; as is ‘The Jaguar’, who’s lyric ‘too much ketamine, not enough kaleidoscope lights’ is one of my favourite lines of the whole album. I'm telling you, we need t-shirts, stat.
If it all sounds bizarre that’s because it…well…is. But what saves Spirit Haus from floundering in the wake of its more absurdist leanings is the album’s startlingly good production values. Electric guitars fuzz with authentic 70’s charm, synths rise and fall like electric tidal waves, bass lines thrum as if they’re coming from inside of you. It’s somehow space-age and low-fi all at once, as if Hendrix, Brian Eno and Survive (of Stranger Things opening credits fame) had a Neptunian lovechild. Even more impressive is the fact that everything was recorded, mixed, and produced by Reed himself at his own studio ‘Evil Twin Studios’ right here in Sydney.
Look, it’s definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste. And yes, it will make more sense once that edible has kicked in. But still, I couldn’t help but be won over by it. Yes it's audacious, bizarre and a little bit silly, but it’s also a pleasure to listen to, especially if – once lockdown’s over – you’re having intergalactic guests over. Fully vaccinated of course.Thanks for stopping by Hipland!