by John McGovern
At first, Psychic Ills sound detached and lifeless. The band’s languid vocals sound familiar in a vague and uninteresting way, as they wither over a boring, jangly, soft rock template. After a few listens, I almost gave up, which would have been easy since their music isn’t loaded with hooks, unlike a certain song about a not so coy mistress who gives away her number. The band’s blend of psychedelic rock and lo-fi garage pop, on the surface, sounds ok but forgettable; just another band rehashing better bands that came before them. But, just as many good albums do, One Track Mind rewards repeated listens. Psychic Ills sound like the kind of band I imagine a character from an early Richard Linklater movie fronting. They make me want to drink a six pack outside the pool hall and rant about neo-McCarthyism. The album is produced by Neil Hegarty, of the now defunct Royal Trux, who’s best music sounds like a gypsy Rolling Stones cover band who have never listened to the Rolling Stones (that is a compliment). Hegarty’s “I don’t give a shit” aesthetic works well here. I can’t say for sure, since I don’t have a car, but this is undoubtedly a good driving album, as “See You There” alludes to. I would be lying if I said it changed my life, but One Track Mind is a leisurely journey that celebrates the bliss and carelessness of youth (forget the existential angst). The album’s stoic navel-gazing, which is a bit rare for a NY band, provides a nice break from the neuroticism in the city’s air that often gets mistaken for energy. In that sense, the album has a timeless feel to it. When it’s on at the right volume, nothing else matters.