In 2014 Riede Faires started Voodoo Phaser in an attempt to write psychedelic rock. After taking a listen I have to say the music better fits into a category like art pop and has more in common with a band like Animal Collective than Cream. Voodoo Phaser is an extremely lo-fi album and some of it works at points and other times it felt like the songs were barely being held together.
The first song “Tropical Scenario” isn’t only a case of it working but also one of the better songs on the album. “Tropical Scenario” is split into two distinct parts with the first being exponentially more enjoyable and engaging. The song relies on a steady kick, guitar and arguably the most infectious vocal mantra like melody. He sings, “Slipped on bananas recall thy karma painting the roses out with the dharma back in Fontana tears that you cried.” On the second half Faires does a good creating a dreamlike atmosphere but the sub frequencies were causing the song to be muddy.
“Won't You Understand?” is a solid song that melds surf rock and psychedelia. I thought the drive from the drums was effective and the singing was reminiscent to that of Deerhoof. Faires shows some more success on “Chico, CA” which touts an engaging beat and serene vocals. It’s a catchy song with a good hook.
I noticed on his Bandcamp it said that “Sun / Morning” was mastered by LANDR which is an online mastering service. There is a very noticeable difference in a good way. The vocal sounds are clear, there is more separation and some low end on the bass drum which was a nice touch. The song also happens to be one of the highlights on the album.
As the album progresses there are a number of other songs that fit the bill. “Nobody Knows Why” excels in the lyrics department and also utilizes a good guitar tone. The closer “Absent-Minded” is a seven-minute track that benefits from back and forth vocals and disparate elements.
Voodoo Phaser is a project with a huge amount of potential. Some of the songs could have been cleaned up a bit and some fleshed out more but the core ideas are notable. I think this is a good start and hints at what could be around the corner.
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