After a much longer hiatus that I had previously realized I have returned to writing reviews, and intend to do so on a fairly regular basis. So why not pick up where I left off by discussing the most recent EP by The John Merricks, Peaks of Bliss.
This follow up to their 2014 release, Crystal Tapes, contains much of the same delightful pysch/kraut rock, but with a more concise structured approach. Clocking in at just under 15 minutes and with four songs there is little room here for the extended spacey jams of their previous release; however what Peaks of Bliss lacks in length it more than makes up for in girth. Not single seconded on this album is wasted, from the first thudding drum machine beat of “Cacophonous Peaks of Bliss” to the final spooky keyboard note of “Nosferatu” this album is packed with sweet psychedelic nectar.
This first track comes in strong with a propulsive unrelenting drum beat and lush echoing vocals; clanging guitars are abound and that warbly buzzing keyboard cuts its way through. Here they’ve managed to take everything I enjoyed about the longer jams on their first release and compress it into a convenient two minute package. The standout track on this album for me is “Moshi Moshi” a slow eerie waltz with gentle sweeps of guitar feedback punctuated by chirrups of keyboards fuzz. This seems like it would be the final slow dance song played at a David Lynch themed prom. Next is “Gunpowder” an upbeat song with a watery synth drone running through it. There are brief respites where a solitary guitar strums a few lonely notes, then the jaunty beat kicks back in and we’re off on another lively stroll. The closing track “Nosferatu” starts with a dark reverberating guitar, builds with bell like symbol hits, and blooms into haunting triumphant amalgamation of keyboards and guitar.
Peaks of Bliss takes a nice step forward from their previous release while still maintaining a loose jam feeling, and lofi sound. You can, and should, pick up a copy of their 10” EP from their bandcamp page; it comes in 3 different colors and contains great sounding tunes.