Yesterday on the music blog A Diverse Sound (for which I occasionally write), I posted a review of an EP titled III by AyOh. Today, I review an album titled III from the band Psychic Temple. I’ve been wanting to talk about this album for a while now, since it has been creeping near the top of the list of my favorite albums from 2016.
Psychic Temple is a cult-branded musical ensemble helmed by Chris Schlarb. If that means something to you, that’s great. Going into this album, this phrase carried no significance; if anything, it was confusing. Was Schlarb actually a member of a cult? Was the band into some weird spiritual crap? (As far as I can tell, no. I hope I’m not ruining their marketing gimmick). The only connection I had to the album was its label, Asthmatic Kitty.
I can’t quite articulate why I was drawn to the album. Maybe it was spiritual. Maybe it was the album art. Maybe it was the press releases from the label. At this point, it doesn’t matter that I still don’t know.
Here’s what I do know: III by Psychic Temple is the best piece of prog-prop that you’ll ever hear. It may also be the only record of this kind that you’ll ever hear, but it’s hard not to get won over by the masterful — yet relaxed — execution of thoughtful and wistful compositions. Schlarb’s restrained vocals drive the laid-back vibes, drawing the listener through an aural landscape which morphs from Southern influences to Middle America to the West Coast.
Just 45 minutes in the Psychic Temple draws together folk stylings from across the country with a uniquely soulful and jazzy elegance. It’s an engaging, relaxing, and supremely pleasant listen which demands many happy returns.
Psychic Temple/Chris Schlarb can be found at the links below. III can be streamed and purchased through the Bandcamp player below the links.
Finally, there will be a third entry in this review series (you thought I would only do two?). Stay tuned for a WE\ARE\MIRRORS Facebook exclusive track review of a certain song by a certain alt-electronic duo who has an album titled Three coming out this fall.