Say Psych: Album Review: The Reverb Conspiracy – Volume 6

The mission statement of London-based independent label Fuzz Club is to uncover and celebrate the best in fuzz, reverb and drone from every corner of the globe. As well as via their extensive back- catalogue and their Fuzz Club Eindhoven festival, one such particular medium through which they do this is their annual Reverb Conspiracy compilation albums.

Where the first five volumes were hailed as a Nuggets-like documentation of the European psych scene, the label is now announcing volume 6 which sees the comp go global: Reverb Conspiracy Vol 6 brings together bands from South Africa, Australia, the USA, Germany, Brazil, the UK, Italy and Russia.

Originally born as a collaboration with The Reverberation Appreciation Society, a US-based  record label and curators of the Levitation Austin festivals, the Reverb Conspiracy has previously included work from such artists as Goat, Anton Newcombe, The KVB, Dead Skeletons, Acid Baby Jesus, The Cosmic Dead, Mugstar, Josefin Öhrn & The Liberation, Ulrika Spacek, TRAAMS, Julie’s Haircut as well as numerous others. As Noisey put it: “From its inception in 2012, The Reverb Conspiracy was a catalyst for the European Psych Nouveau movement… sparking more creative chemistry than a night of speed dating at Andy Warhol’s Factory.” With the scope now extending beyond just Europe, this is arguably the strongest, most-varied Reverb Conspiracy yet.

Opening are Cape Town’s Julia Robert with ‘Mud Girl’ which starts with a steady beat and builds into a mesmerising combination of krautrock and garage. It’s a heady concoction and sums up the ethos of this collection from the off. Aussie’s Nice Biscuit follow with ‘Out of Sight’, another track with rolling bass and rhythmic drums that steer the track. The two make a nice duet and lead further into the US’s Frankie and the Witch Fingers who are notorious for their live shows but their recorded material is also always popular. They offer ‘Underneath You’ a ten-minute number that sums up all you will ever need to know about this band – just listen, you’ll get it. Berlin via South Africa dream pop duo Medicine Boy take things down, just a notch, with ‘Water Girl’ with is a moody number drenched in fuzz and reverb and without doubt the highlight of 2018 LP Lower.

From there we make a jump to Brazil to Firefriend and ‘Surface to Air’, a shoegaze track with added attitude and layers of sound that take a few listens to penetrate. With reverberating vocals and fuzzy guitar it’s a great track that typifies what they do to the uninitiated. Ashville’s Nest Egg created quite a stir with their album last year and ‘DMTIV’ was the main reason why. France’s Steeple Remove offer ‘Ferris Noir’ a dub infused post-punk track that’s not for the faint hearted whilst London’s Float serve up ‘Watch’, another post punk track that steers towards the more typical sounds with fading guitars and pacey riffs. Italy’s Crimen present ‘Flahzz’ from 2018’s Silent Animals, with its catchy countenance and bouncing repetition that creates an irresistible foot tap.

Japanese Television offer one of the darkest tracks with ‘Tick Tock’ which is a space rock meets psychedelic masterpiece squashed into four minutes. Moscow’s Selbram offer a blend of alt rock and no wave with ‘This City You Know’ where as Super Paradise create a lo-fi garage rock number in ‘6:30’ which has more than a hint of Thee Oh Sees in there and will appeal to mean. Returning to the US with Verstärker is ‘Mit Gluck’, a krautrock number that you could be forgiven for confusing with a vast array of Can tracks. Concluding in fine style are Cambridge trio Psychic Lemon with ‘Interstellar Fuzz Star’, a nine minute tripped out odyssey that’s best played at loud volumes.  

As compilations go, Fuzz Club have nailed it with this addition of The Reverb Conspiracy, blending an array of tracks from the familiar to the unknown and will undoubtedly attract many new listeners with such a varied offering.  

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