Perhaps some purists would write off Chilean Holydrug Couple based on their immediate throwback to other iconic psychedelic acts of today, with enough sprinklings of yesteryear thrown in for good measure. Sure they sound a bit like Os Mutantes would have if they were the new band from Brooklyn, a bit like most bands that climbed the ladder under the Psychedelic sky the past decade or so. The strength that lies in The Holydrug Couples music, is that its not pretentious. They don’t hide behind their image, their music does the talking. Sonically its a jangly time-warp of 1960s South American psych-parents like Os Brazoes, elements of Tropicalia, the oddity of some of Tom Zé’s early stuff, and a solid look at the bands of today.
Throw into the mix that the ever-so-credible label Sacred Bones are responsible for spreading the Holydrug gospel, and you start to see where the bands weight lies.
Speaking of weight, every band has to possess a weakness to be able to balance its strengths, in the case of this band, vocalist Ives Sepulveda struggles at times to hit the heights he hopes for. In context though, with the ramshackle early years of Psychedelia straddling that thin line between the opulent and ridiculous, it works. Many of us have ignored the sometimes bleating nature of Robin Williamson’s vocals, or accustomed our ears to the vocal style of Robert Wyatt, enjoying the songs as a whole and not a particular element. It’s in the same format we should tackle Noctuary: as a whole piece, not a collection of parts.
And with that in mind, a few listens will have you transported back to the same notions you got when hearing Gal Costa’s Relance for the first time, as well as the haunting chords of a Syd Barrett ditty.
Noctuary can be streamed here: