Back in the studio after two years on the road and 150 live shows, Ouzo Bazooka’s Transporter is the most tangible of psych records. In part, this is the product of the tightness that a sustained period of performance can bring. But it is also due to the influence of surf rock that adds solidity and weightiness to an otherwise lithium-light genre. That and clarity of vision.
Clearly influenced by 60s and 70s psych, Transporter sounds quite rightly like Love’s Forever Changes and the swirlier end of The 13th Floor Elevators. The retro sounding ‘Trip Train’ with its guitars and maracas is gloriously indeterminate geographically. It could be from America or Britain but you probably wouldn’t guess Tel Aviv where the band was formed. These predominantly shorter tracks are more significant than their succinctness suggests.
‘It’s A Sin’ and ‘Relax’ are no re-workings of our darker eighties’ favourites. Instead, Ouzo Bazooka sows peace and happiness. These tracks are early Beatles and The Addams Family, Uncle Fester in an Afghan waistcoat. There are enough little touches in the multi-layered production to add interest. For instance, it’s possible that a wolf has got into the studio on the first track and a dog on the second. Whilst there is no further canine interference, later on ‘Sleep Walk’ Inspiral Carpets are shoo-ed out of the room. Their clunky 60s pastiche is replaced by a female vocal and a waterfall of keys.
Often the physical integrity is provided by the heavy, almost Black Country guitars such as on ‘Latest News’, ‘Revolution Eyes’ and ‘Coming From The Wild’. Always lifted by the lighter and melodic Middle Eastern influences, it seems certain that the band will be dining on falafel not bats.
Transporter has two extended tracks, neither of which succumbs to indulgence. The cosmically marvellous ‘Space Camel’ edges dangerously towards funk before relaxing into the exotic. Ouzo Bazooka sings across dimensions and it would appear that to “get high on solitude” is quite a thing. Desert bongos accompany the sound of rockets but these effects never obscure or smother the evident crafting of these songs.
The band is most experimental on the lengthy ‘Falling’ which is Roy Orbison on holiday in a Hawaiian shirt – at least in the first half. The track splits halfway leaving us with some oozingly rhythmic psych. For once, it is not entirely obvious what is being sung. Is it in English or not? It doesn’t matter. Fall into a trance on a beaded cushion and watch the stars spin. This transporter runs on helium.
Transporter will be released on 12th January 2019 through Stolen Body Records.