The Psychic Paramount II

[No Quarter; 2011]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: progressive rock, instrumental, experimental rock, noise rock, rockity rock rock
Others: Laddio Bolocko, Hovercraft, Chavez, Trans Am, Lightning Bolt

There seems to be no proper explanation, only guesses, as to what the Pink Floyd song title “Pow R. Toc H.” signifies. Neither “Power Torch” nor “Power Touch” really works. And some info on an army club turned Christian fellowship called the Toc. H (code for Talbot House) doesn’t really clear much up either. Likely, the lads were too stoned to remember, and the song is kind of a lark. Well, I should rephrase that — “Pow R. Toc H.” is a fleet, plunging, and gloriously egregious lark. Something for the heads, yeah, please and thanksforit. The Psychic Paramount have this indefinable Pow R, and the centrifuge is oiled for big skyscraping things that mop the floor with stuff old and new that I would never in a million years want to diminish in any way — butbutbut… this band has done something for us. Something somehow more Pow R. Toc H. than “Pow R. Toc H.” They’ve got the mysterious initials thing down (see: song titles below) and have molded an invigorating, near-overwhelming platter of soaring excess — that never once becomes tiresome.

The sounds of II holler at you to turn them up, practically making the volume dial arch of its own accord. This stuff is hang-gliding in a hurricane — if you weren’t so busy having the crap knocked out of you, you’d realize you were having the time of your life. If you go running with this on your headphones, you could probably outpace a speeding train, or at least feel as if this were within reach. The people in this band — Drew St. Ivany (guitarist), Ben Armstrong (bassist), and Jeff Conaway (drums) — have been riproaring it up for a good long while, making experimental rock that is at a very delectable crossroads between Don Caballero’s angular precision and an almost Dirty Three-level wrought rock catharsis euphoria. The similarities with the latter band die there, though. The mood that pervades in The Psychic Paramount is one of surgical focus and abominable rage mushrooms, with perhaps a sense of wonder in there somewhere. But II is still dynamic enough to keep things both trance-inducing and unpredictable while rewarding with massive, slicing sickle sword arcs of impossibly prolonged crescendo.

Yes, The Psychic Paramount just does things up proper. Cut you down with a glance style. Bound For Glory style. Bombsquad style. Frigging Pow R. Toc H. style. Whatever it is, you got some workman and wooly apeman-like jams for the young-at-heart and crusty-’round-the-edges. No-neckers, find your inner contrapuntal rhythm! Shoegazers look up, here comes a gleaming sonic fist! Tortoise and Mogwai fans, there’s something interesting to listen to again! I know this hyperbolic crap is the scourge of our hallowed internet press, but the great thing about The Psychic Paramount is their blunt, merciless provocation, so I will respond in kind. There’s no wordier, less desperate way to put it: II is gonna get you. It’s gonna fold you up, flatten you in its steel press, and make a revolting panini outta ya. Then it’s chow time. So long, sucker.

Links: The Psychic Paramount - No Quarter


Some releases are so incredible we just can’t help but exclaim EUREKA! While many of our picks here defy categorization and explore the constructed boundaries between ‘music’ and ‘noise,’ others complement, continue, or rupture traditions that provide new forms and ways of listening. Not all of our favorites will be listed here, but we think each EUREKA! album is worthy of careful consideration. This section is a work-in-progress, so expect its definition to be in perpetual flux.

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