When told that a band pride themselves in being part of the psychedelic rock scene, certain images come to mind almost instantly; from acid to colourful retro art to funky sunglasses – the point being, this is a scene very much rooted in the past and an era almost incomprehensible to some.
There are, of course, bands that have done very well in making the sound and attitude feel more contemporary, Crobot for instance, but with Ecstatic Vision a handful of minutes in and it’s already be clear that they have absolutely no intention of following the same trail of thought. Raw Rock Fury (Reprise) is such a throwback you’ll feel like you’ve fallen into some kind of vortex and a lovely blonde lady with a colourful headband hands you a pill whilst her boyfriend dances aggressively yet flamboyantly to apparently nothing in the background.
The production is immediately striking; a very deliberate attempt to make this actually sound like a record hoisted straight from the early Seventies with the mix sounding quite muddy and crackly, giving the impression at least that it was all recorded naturally in studio.
This is an approach which has been adopted quite successfully by Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, but with Ecstatic Vision you can’t help but feel they’re just trying too hard. At times the vocals are almost inaudible and the rest of the music crescendos into such an amalgamation of sounds it just drifts over your head a bit. It’s clear what they’re going for, it just doesn’t land all that well.
The album officially only features four tracks, with two of them split into multiple parts to make eight on CD and iTunes – (it feels like BLASPHEMY to mention such technology here) – but you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason for them choosing to do this; the three parts for ‘Twinkling Eye’ just run in to each naturally like one long song for instance. It’d be bizarre, in fact, for both of the tracks split into sections not to be played in full live so why not just leave it like that on the album?
Overall, whilst Ecstatic Vision do well in reminding us of the days when bands like Hawkwind reigned supreme, the execution falls flat and serves only to encourage you to just listen to the (better) bands they’re influenced by so much.