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12 July 2013

Electric Bunnies - 'Through the Magical Door' (Florida's Dying)

The gimmick of this album is in the packaging - a gatefold which opens into a board-game, complete with die-cut pieces. The game is pretty silly, containing commands like 'Smell someone's feet' and 'Admit your a racist'; I'll admit to being enough of a collector, valuing the sacred quality of record packaging, that I never punched out the pieces and played. If you're expecting similarly lighthearted fare on the record then you're wrong, though I wouldn't describe Through the Magical Door as sombre; rather, it operates on a level of sophistication that makes this the high water mark of the bedroom psychedelia glut of 2008-2010. There's as much jangly guitars and revamped 60's worship here as on the rest of the records on labels such as Shdwply -- but with far stronger songcraft and an electicism that transcends the rest. Compare to the Dead Luke LP, for example - that's a good LP, sure, but I think in ten years Through the Magical Door will be remembered much more fondly. How these guys have managed to escape greater notoriety (now a few years down the line) is beyond me. Each song has something distinct, yet it's all held together nicely. The title track leans towards folk-revival sounds and suggests a longer attention span than is immediate apparent. 'Marigold Flower' is pure retro magic, with the affable amateurism of 80s Flying Nun merged with Summer of Love icing. For a bedroom recordings, there's a shockingly huge sound on 'What's Your Favorite Thing?', anchored by a driving floor tom and being the purest bit of indie rock on the record. Closing cut 'Sweet Dreams My Dear Esmeralda' is a long, murky banger with lotsa layers and losta sauce. It would be my pick were it not for 'Psychic Lemonade', which outdoes the Dukes of Stratosphere using nothing more than backwards guitars, a perfect organ pulse, and some DOD pedals. No, wait, 'A Snowman on the First Day of Spring' is actually the best cut, loaded with searing organic tons and just enough electroacoustic bathwater to create something otherwordly and chilling. There's also 'The Green Octopus', a slow, longing ode that breaks into gritty guitar strums and ends with some musique concrete, another surprise. I assume these guys have broken up or gone on to college, which is a shame, because this is a remarkably adept entry into all-time great psych records, something that is very much of its time but also aware of its own antecedents - in just the perfect balance.

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