The Players: Kenn Mogel: lead guitar, Alden Parker: rhythm guitar, John Olsen: bass, Adam Pasqeal: drums.
Material: Imagine a headier version of Grateful Dead mixed with Dixie Dregs and Mahavishnu Orchestra, and you might get a hint of what Psychedelphia is all about. Most of their tunes are long polyrhythmic instrumentals with the exception of one song, "Bonnie X," although even then, the vocals are relegated to a straight 4/4 section which accounts for about thirty percent of the cut.
Musicianship: It can't be easy to keep those constantly fluctuating time signatures straight at all times, but Olsen and Pasqueal don't miss a beat supporting Mogel's rather beautiful and flowing guitar lines. Don't count Alden Parker out as a 'mere' rhythm guitarist either– his chunky chord-work often slips into parallel harmonies which shadow his lead man's riffs with surprising alacrity.
Performance: Although each of the tunes has a different feel– the excitement of the opener, "Please Be You," versus the almost Country meets Cape-Town Rock style of "Catsup," or the funky whiteboy feel of "Python"– the songs, nonetheless, seem to evolve into one another rather than shock you with their variety. There is a definite 'altered state of consciousness' ambience created by this band, reminiscent of some of the old psychedelic bands of yore; which is good… and bad. Only on a couple of occasions did it seem as if the solo went on just a little too long, but then that's what progressive jam bands are all about– the benefits are worth the risks. It would be nice to hear some more vocal parts in the music– Mr. Mogel's voice, though not virtuosic, is certainly as good as a Garcia or a Weir– and it might widen the audience for this kind of music . All in all, however, it was a highly enjoyable performance with some thrilling moments and some classy musicianship.
Summary: Psychedelphia's name kind of speak for itself. Their music may not be for everyone, but those who like brain teasers will revel in the multi-dimensional mental spaces created by these sounds. You don't have to pay close attention to appreciate the environmental maneuvers it achieves, but if you do, there is a special reward hidden deep within this sonic labyrinth for those who make it to the end.
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