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Thursday, 7 October 2021

Muun Bato - Paraphonic Vapors


Many people use the term Psych Pop for albums that are essentially Power Pop or Pop Rock with a bit of backwards guitar and a distant vocal thrown in. To master the genre, the Psych has to be more than a sprinkle and Muun Bato are one of the better examples of what I mean.

The Minneapolis outfit offer up an outstanding second album. Its heart is Psych, but there's a melody in their playing and a vocal that is more in tune with Modern Prog. Songs are built on guitar and synth riffs and the band are not afraid to stretch out.

You hear all sorts here. UFO Club 1967, Space Rock, even Shoegaze. The riffs are hypnotic without ever seeming repetitive or dull. Paraphonic Vapours would make a wonderful instrumental album, but the effect is obviously doubled with understated vocals. 

Smoke Vision could be early Pink Floyd, yet Thrall is almost slowed down Goth. Corn Woman could be prime time Hawkwind and Society Of Spectacle edges towards lounge or even Jazz Rock with its gripping Bassline. 

Much will be made of the 14 minute closer, which is a sort of meandering Psych Prog with the synths let loose. It shows another side of the band when let loose. It's a splendid affair, but not that reflective of the melody elsewhere.

Joe Werner is one talented songwriter and guitarist with a vocal style more suited to lighter material. The fact that that vocal appears here answers any preconceptions people may have with Psych Pop. Psych doesn't have to be all weirded out nonsense, just as Pop doesn't have to have "I Love You, Yes I Do" choruses.

You can listen to and buy the album here or the Vinyl can be bought here. You can find out more about Muun Bato here.

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