Rancho Relaxo are one of Norway’s finest exports and will appeal to fans of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine. Founded in 2003, they remain elusive on the live scene, but this EP comes as their 8th release. Describing themselves as ‘twangy guitars, tambourines, sitar and shoegaze vibes mixed with a proper dose of neo-psychedelia sprinkled with 12 strings, soaked in reverb, trippy melodies and some occasional fuzz freak-outs’ it certainly has most people intrigued and they constantly gather popularity.
This EP comes as the first in a new line being released by Wrong Way Records; limited to 100 copies and known as ‘The Blacklist’, the 12” vinyl will undoubtedly become a must have for any psych collector.
The 5 track EP opens with ‘Spooky Satisfaction at a Distance’, a percussion opening lends to fuzzy guitar swirls and floating vocals that hang gracefully within the music. ‘Augen Zu’ utilises the same vintage 1966 rhythm ace drum machine – the driving force of the EP – as a base before leading to melodic guitars which build in intensity as they continue. The use of a synth complements the vocal harmonies and creates a pleasant sway; this is easy listening shoegaze based psychedelia at its best.
‘Life & Death’ is highly versatile and distinctive sound paints as it breathes influences from past and present. In parts, it exudes shamanistic style energy and adds to the concept that Rancho Relaxo draw influence from a multitude of sources. ‘Tell Me Something’ is the lead track, with a catchy countenance and repetition that drives the track, whilst incorporating lashings of fuzz laden guitar melodies. ‘My Girl’ concludes the EP with its intense noise focused opening, jangling high pitched synth and bouncing feel. Very reminiscent of a sound much loved by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, this puts them up there with the best.
Rancho Relaxo describe their sound as an attempt to reach “Neo-Psychedelic Zendom”, through the amalgamation of whirring guitar riffs, psychedelic clouds, reverb-drenched colours and drone-laden injections contrasts and addictive melodies. If this EP is anything to go by, I’d say they made it.