ALBUM REVIEW - Rancho Relaxo - Soft Luxury - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Rancho Relaxo

RELEASE: Soft Luxury

RELEASE DATE: December 8th 2018

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Norwegian-based experimental neo-psych aficionados ‘Rancho Relaxo’ returned to the burgeoning underground psych scene back in December 2018 with their ninth studio release entitled ‘Soft Luxury’. Formed back in 2003, ‘Rancho Relaxo’ are on the forefront of the experimental psych scene. Combining a plethora of genres from drone to space rock, shoegaze to neo-psychedelia, the band continue to create a totally absorbing and immersive sonic experience with each long player. ‘Soft Luxury’ was officially released back on the 8th December 2018 and is available to buy/download on various formats right now via ranchorelaxo.bandcamp.com

A swirling feedback driven instrumental drone ushers in the beginnings of ‘No Shadow No Soul’, the opening act on ‘Soft Luxury’. It builds brilliantly, meandering through a kaleidoscope of sonic colour and the pull of hazily melodic guitars. Slow moving percussion echoes and hovers alongside waves of woozy reverberation as the throb of bass frequencies bounce intermittently between those deeply hypnotic vocal lines. The track undulates through a menagerie of sound waves before closing out with an immense instrumental finale. Up next, ‘lgjen’ twinkles into audible range dancing on a glittering line of guitar as the drone of instrumentation ushers in a live sounding drum kit. Melodic vocals riding the the throb of cascading bass enter the fray, mingling brilliantly with the swirl of reverb and the afterglow of those fantastic organ notes. Explosive chorus changes catch the ear of this listener here and I also cant help but notice a subtle 60’s psych vibe resonating throughout the entire track. ‘igjen’ is absolutely immense and a definite album highlight for me.

‘You Know Her Name’ glides into the ether on shimmering swells of melodic synth . Sounding almost anthemic in stature, this track is huge in scope. The arrival of percussion and soaring lines of guitar help to collectively permeate those massive clouds of reverb thus adding intense atmosphere that completely envelopes that haunting line of otherworldly vocal. Coming in at almost nine minutes in length, ’You Know Her Name’ is a blissful slice of modern neo-psychedelia. Up next, ‘Love You Baby’ bounces into the sonic arena on the hum of bass frequencies as shakers and the drone of electronic sequencing beef up the sonic attack. Rancho Relaxo surf the outer edges of sonic experimentation here, adding swirling electronics into the mix to coalesce with those meandering lines of bass as the track builds into one swirling tempest of beautiful noise and those sporadic off beats catch the ear. The vocal line seems to skirt the sonic melee completely, floating independently from the main body of instrumentation, lightly tethered to it at different times by intimate strands of melodic reverb. It’s a fascinating track that stands head and shoulders above anything else on the album.

‘Mouth’ opens up with sampled vocalisations before the woozy swagger of organ and swells of reverberation take hold pulling percussion and catchy chord changes into the mix peppered with an intense kind of melody. Lines of vocal ride waves of sound, using the momentary pauses in instrumentation to good effect. Swirling lines of organ take centre stage here, injecting a brilliant swirl of atmosphere into the track as we head into it’s eastern tinged but lysergic fuelled finale. ‘Det Sku lkkje Skjedd’ begins brightly. Droning organ swells meld with catchy lines of guitar, humming bass and intense production atmospherics as we lift skywards on waves of effortless sonic melody, churning on hypnotic sound waves and eagerly awaiting the arrival of that immense vocal track. ‘Det Sku lkkje Skjedd’ is an intensely spiritual sonic ride, easily reminiscent of The Black Angels or even ‘West’ era Wooden Shjips and is another highlight on this release.

The albums penultimate track entitled ‘Oh Me’ is a woozy affair. Bluesy guitar structures rattle on top of slow moving percussion, cascading lines of bass and sporadic shimmers of tambourine. Catchy vocalisations merge with shimmering production values as we chug through verse patterns filled with rolling reverberation and clatter into guitar filled chorus parts filled with intertwining lead lines. There’s a hint of post punk here as the repetitive instrumentation takes hold but all in all it’s a solid track. The album closes out with one of it’s shining gems. ‘Out The Door’ begins on a warbling wave of repetitively melodic, reverb hued organ. Utterly addictive, this in turn pulls rattling percussion, shaking tambourine and the jangle of guitars into view used primarily as a conduit for those warm west coast sounding vocalisations. Intricate chord structures and those meandering lines of organ carry the weight here as Rancho Relaxo cast a solidifying sonic spell on this listener, instantly injecting a slice of warm summer sun into the opening salvos of 2019.

4/5

LINKS:

ranchorelaxo.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/ranchorelaxoband/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last six years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, postpunk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm  – Primal Radio –  has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting genres of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.