Say Psych: Live Review, Dead Sea Apes, Liverpool PsychFest, 26.09.15

Dead Sea Apes are a favourite band of mine who have released a series of ever developing albums on the Cardinal Fuzz label, the latest of which ‘Spectral Domain’ has apparently been flying out of the Cardinal’s lair. The opening track ‘Universal Interrogator’ has, in my view, already become a cornerstone of their live set, and the whole album sets a new standard for the band’s bleak and complex worldview. Based around Manchester the trio churn out endlessly fascinating and eclectic instrumentals comprising elements of space/ krautrock, dub and drone combined to amazing effect to produce a very substantial output that, as my Backseat Mafia colleague Chromaticism commented in his review:

“That ‘Spectral Domain’ unapologetically casts a somewhat downbeat and sombre shadow than previous DSA outings is, I am sure, in no small part attributable to these troubled times in which we find ourselves. It is of course no less loveable for that, a zeitgeist soundtrack if ever there was one…”

Dead Sea Apes’ music feels otherworldly, but it is rooted in the here and now; and it was with this is mind that I saw them kick of the Cardinal Fuzz Sonic Attack that was to dominate the Camp stage on this second evening of the Festival. What I saw and heard was not particularly surprising on one level given the number of times I had seen the band play before, but on another level it was. Whether or not it was seeing Dead Sea Apes in a larger venue I really got a new sense of scale from the music. It struck me how carefully crafted each track is, but how these tracks not only build and intensify but open out. I am going to resist the ‘like a flower blooming’ analogy here because that is not what I mean. For me Dead Sea Apes tracks, and I only really perceived this in Liverpool for the first time, move from introverted beginning and become more expansive, even cinematic, in their endeavour. They are three musicians who operate almost like a Jazz trio, each vitally important to the band and feeding off each other to produce something that is more than the sum of its parts as each track is developed and structured.

Dead Sea Apes got the Cardinal Fuzz stage at the PsychFest off to a brilliant start, and particular mention to label owner Dave for getting such a great line-up together (and reports on all the bands on the Cardinal Fuzz stage will appear by clicking the link below in due course). Talking about the event Cardinal Dave told me  “I had such an amazing time and had the chance to meet up, no matter how briefly, with so many friends is what makes the whole festival to me. It was so great to be asked by Liverpool to curate the stage and I know the bands playing the Cardinal Fuzz stage fried a few brains out there”. They certainly did, as do Cardinal Fuzz records on a weekly basis if my turntable is anything to go by.

You can find my other writing for Backseat Mafia here, including reports from this year’s Liverpool PsychFest.

Follow me on Twitter @simondelic, and Facebook.

Click on the thumbnails below to bring up the full gallery (with apologies to Chris, it was just too dark back there for my camera).

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