Offering anarchic imagination and musical unpredictability is French rockers Psykokondriak, a band, to use a term in their new album’s press release, which “is a sixheaded hydra, a rock ‘n roll and hip-hop chimera.” They are also an encounter which on the evidence of Gloomy Days leaves a grin on the face and spirit as its parade of deranged adventures posing as songs spring inescapable fun fuelled incitements.
The band’s sound is like a mix of Hollywood Undead, Beastie Boys, Toumaï, and Red Hot Chili Peppers; groove infested and as funky as a swingers party and all led by a voraciously infectious hip hop devilry. Formed in 2006, Psykokondriak went through numerous line-up changes before releasing debut EP Hôpital Psykotrip six years later. Mid-2014 saw the current line-up in place, MC’s Y.B. (aka Mc Body) and Braeckman (aka Mc BOY) linking up with guitarist Tristan Florin (aka Docteur Florkin), bassist Cédric Desneulin (aka le comte Eskarfesse), drummer Aurélien Desneulin (aka L’empereur Mark Oreill), and DJ Julien Delville (aka DJ Stam Iff). Following an appearance on the Christmas compilation album Walt the Fuck last year, Gloomy Days is the sextet’s biggest nudge on attention and result of the band expanding their sound, a release with numerous familiar aspects and fiercely enjoyable and unique exploits.
Introducing the Body Boys is the short entrance into the album, the vocalists announcing themselves and the forthcoming adventure as sturdy strikes of sound engage in ear pleasing coaxing as turntables sizzle. It leads straight into Psyko Waltz, Pt. 1, a continuation in sound and style of that initial invitation. The bass instantly sets out on a funk infested grooving as vocals bounce around, a lure entangled in sonic interplay as swinging beats entice a tempest of twists and raw energy. The track easily recruits ears and appetite for its somewhat recognisable sounds yet individual character of imagination which in turn only develops and expands as the track continues to grow. By its closing, the track is as heavy and invasive as a Korn meets (Hed)p.e. proposal and as enjoyable.
The Fine Art of Terror follows, thrusting hungry riffs and funk bred grooves through ears as vocal declaration and predacious attitude drive the energy and character of the excellent encounter. Again hips and feet are swiftly gripped by the creative and contagious drama escaping Psykokondriak, the band raging and swinging with matching dexterity before Workless Dance opens up its inescapable flirtation with wiry hooks and vocal revelry. In no time the track is a festival of lean grooves and thicker expulsions, at times carrying the scent of a Primer 55 or at other moments exploring something akin to 633 meets Crazy Town, every second leading to an unexpected turn.
A similar template provides the canvas for Monstros Incorporantes next; punk rock, metal, and hip hop colliding in a jungle of swiping beats, predacious bass and guitar grooves, and vocal infectiousness. Again familiar elements entangle fresh enterprise as the track grips ears and bodies before the brief cinematic instrumental interlude of Gunfight Helicopters sets up the raucously psychotic Think It Up. Like Flea and co losing their sanity as early Faith No More interferes, the deranged engagement jumps around like its feet are burning on hot creative coals, again the imagination as hooked as ears on Psykokondriak’s fun soaked bedlam.
The album’s best track comes next, Spookadelic Fever Mansion opening with much of the classic Alfred Hitchcock TV show intro before sauntering into an aural spook fest of swaying rhythms aligned to a low slung bassline. With its cartoonish swagger and the rapacious aggression which blossoms in certain moments, it plays like a Scooby Doo meets Beetlejuice soundtrack while lyrically snarling. The track is glorious; reason enough to take a look at Psykokondriak and quickly backed up by Hot Day Hotter Night and its funk stroll with moments of climactic eruption and anthemic vocal roars; it all simply impossible not to get thickly engaged in.
Closing on the dark strains of Unherited Culture, a track reminding a little of nineties UK band Honky but exploring its own experimental and threatening shadows, Gloomy Days simply hits the spot for something fresh and exciting. Musically at times it is not the most unique yet every recognisable aspect is countered and surpassed by moments of imagination and craft masked as lunacy. Whether Gloomy days will break Psykokondriak into new hungry spotlights time will tell but it will definitely recruit a horde of new fans with us to the fore.
Gloomy Days is out now across most online stores and streaming @ https://psykokondriak.bandcamp.com/album/gloomy-days
Pete RingMaster 01/09/2016
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