Review: Strange Forces – I’d Rather Listen to the Bloody Birds

(LP, Self-released, 2012)

The German psych rock collective Strange Forces does their best to follow the rebellious spirit of the original krautrockers with the opening speech sample of a man declaring he would “rather listen to the bloody birds” than all the politicians, experts, and other self-proclaimed “all knowing” bastards that sometimes seem to exist for the sole purpose to add chaos to our everyday lives. Psychedelic rock, as a music genre, seems to exist above all the political-everyday life blabber (although I’m sure if you look hard enough, you’ll find some politically-charged psych rock bands, hell, take the later Jefferson Airplane for example), and Strange Forces make a strong point out of that.

But let’s steer away from politics, or any kind of ideology at all, right here. Strange Forces’ newest album is a purely instrumental deal of spaced out, garage-like clusterfuck of jam, played freely and without restraints, with a happy, free spirit of an original hippie commune and a knack for creating melodies that sound like nuggets taken from the height of 80’s/90’s neo-psychedelic revival bands. The catchy hooks mix with droning, reverb-heavy atmospherics. The best example of this is the best track on the album, “Maybe We Could Meditate Together or Something”: a lightning path of a jam, gradually gaining control over the hypnotizing motorik rhythm and progressing into a flowering guitar line that makes you wish it doesn’t ever end makes you want to live inside of it and all the other wonderful things you might have done with that masterful riff.

Strange Forces’ newest album might be hard to describe because it might give an impression of sounding like thousands of psych rock albums before that. It might be true, however, Strange Forces possess a rather rare (for many more jam-oriented bands) gift of weaving an actual, catchy melody into the beatific, lysergic guitar noodling. They reach back the most melodic moments of the previous decades’ love for psych and come back with glorious results.


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