"So you've been looking for someone to guide you"
Extended Revelation For The Psychic Weaklings Of Western Civilization is a cumbersome title, but then again Extended Revelation For The Psychic Weaklings Of Western Civilization is a cumbersome album. Like its predecessor, it weighs in at over an hour, and struggles to contain the musical inventiveness of The Soundtrack of Our Lives. If you think that everything that can be done with the straight-ahead rock format has already been done, Extended Revelation For The Psychic Weaklings Of Western Civilization encourages you to think again. While bands like Radiohead and Sigur Rós have continued to push the barriers of rock music as art-statement, TSOOL somehow managed to achieve a level of musical inventiveness that doesn’t alienate those that just want big guitars and a bloody good rock song.
The development of Extended Revelation… is somewhat convoluted, as it’s a mix of material that was left off TSOOL’s previous album, due to the record company refusing to release a double album as a debut (and given the quality of Welcome to the Infant Freebase, it’s fair to say that this is one of the few times that a record company got it right), along with a smattering of new songs. This new material is somewhat darker in tone and mood, but the whole album is united by a proggy-psych-rock feel and a well-matched production job. Although slightly lumpier than Welcome To The Infant Freebase, Extended Revelation… is still a strong follow up that is influenced by great bands of the past rather than trying to directly copy them.
That both Welcome to the Infant Freebase and Extended Revelation For The Psychic Weaklings Of Western Civilization were originally only released in Europe only underlines the short-sightedness of the music industry, as both could, and should, have received far better promotion, as The Soundtrack of Our Lives really were a cut above the bulk of rock and roll bands in the late 90s, who by and large were rather ordinary sounding. The output of TSOOL certainly put the vast majority of Britpop acts in the shade, but didn’t receive even a fraction of press coverage that even the most uninspired acts of that movement received.
Admittedly there are a few songs on Extended Revelation… that might have benefited from being a little shorter (“Black Star” alone could have been done in two thirds of the time) and the track ordering towards the end is questionable, as “Love Song No. 3105” would have been a much more effective closing number. These are minor quibbles though, as The Soundtrack of Our Lives once again prove what could be achieved if retro rock is approached properly.