"I think it's easier than to formulate high ideals, but a few things are more difficult, and to discover the means whereby those ideals may be implemented one has to dream but one has to dream in a pragmatic way" Aldous Huxley, in Hoffman's Potion
Do I hear a tinge of surf rock here and a splash of psychedelic vocals there? And all wrapped up in a damn fine beat! The new Ketamines 7” So Hot! opens with its killer two-and-a-half minute title track. Resistance vibes ebb and flow as they bray and stomp through lyrics held down by the kind of upbeat clutch that makes this Toronto group well worth a listen, if not a full-fledged tracking down.
Released this October, the band’s three-track album buzzes under the genres of punk, garage and power-pop. Spacey breakdowns mood out these catchy and tight musical explorations with extra-hot reverberating guitar riffs smoothed out over ambient and effectively eerie vocals. “New Skull Tattoo,” the second cut on the album, begins with a daze of light-hearted, fifties-era doo-wop rhythms fused together into punk lyricisms.
The Ketamines provide a riot of trickster stylings, as the lyrics carry us through into a stupendous poetic irony. Final track, “Summer Mothers,” sounds off a dream-pop show with the power of good feelings, impressing the listener with a kind of end-of-concert bittersweet rush that takes no prisoners. It reminds us that when the summer or the year ends and all is lost, we should just hold fast to the driving beat and we’ll all be okay.
All in all, each and every song on this new 7” is good listening. Even multiple listens later the songs groove pulse more and more in the veins. Straight to the head, this one’s a gem.
This piece of interpretive writing was published with BeatRoute magazine on November 3, and conceived under the influence of soundscapes by Canadian psychedelic music band, KETAMINES
The Union Street Y faces the Puerto Rican cafe where I used to sit over a microwaved chocolate chip muffin and hot chocolate, eyeing the clock, readying myself for Hebrew school. The elaborate turnstile reminiscences of the red-bricked Y invited with the flushing scent of chlorinated memory and the erased lunch-hour sweat of youth. There, a mere two jaunt to the fish-gut factory ocean, I spoke to children. Fascinated by the swung heart of musical storytelling, the night awaited patiently, as the fat bosom of American daytime on the human Earth struggled to a peaceful end.
|Lesser Ury: Café Bauer|
A story of Massasoit and the unvanquished heads of Massachusetts flesh, spell out the old paradigm loosed from vocal chords, taut with knife-edge reason on a silent beach. Their indiscriminate wisdom emerges from white-skinned pride, to destroy the vainglorious ruse of ego and fate. Mortality ensued in the fading light, as speech lightened the animate Earth with a name, and its meaning. The soil spoke with a tongue of roots, with teeth of stone and and words of food. Saying: where the story is told is equally or more important to the telling.
|A Northern Lake by Unknown|
Flown beyond the wellspring of distant knowledge, exotic in its geography, sacred in its ecology, and born of a feverish need in its cartographic attemptation, a single mountain rose as a breach of faith on the plain horizon. Monumental airs shifted and sprang from the glowering mass of insurmountable ice. Formed as from a frozen volcanic fire, the ice lifted with evaporating death, as the cold grip of lifelessness in nonbeing. The frozen hell still beckoned forward the unanswered mystery of longing, as the natural light waned atop its insuperable caracas, a skull of monastic belonging.
|Mer de Glace, in the Valley of Chamouni, Switzerland by J.M.W. Turner|
I stepped forward, onto the slippery fall of the sky's over-hastened drop to Earth, as the violated inherent reason of nature, unearthed. The pool fragranced wisps of spiritual air, the will of the unmoving background to all life on Earth, revealed in the deadening cold. As the stone ascended to its paternal source above, each step closer frustrated the nervous system with defeat, failure, and the fatal swoon of all human belonging. The release of the spirit, awake.
|Harlem Valley, Winter by Ernest Lawson|
Captured under the fault of a boot, I risked a greeting at the hand of death's blizzard smoke, the craving and seductive flaw of its embrace. Unable to get back afoot, I peered through the ice to see the reigning female of human law. The Queen shone glinting the fixing light, fleeting, yet absorbed needfully. With a hand mobilized by the insane truths of modern life, I sunk below the ice, to finger the freezing metal, and to possess its deathless strength. Ascendance moved to transcendence. The impossible summit slunk beneath my loins, hidden in hoarding pockets and disguised on lusting hands.
|Queen of Coins (Diamonds) from the Visconti tarot deck by Bonifacio Bembo|
The line at the cinema began to move. I paid, and saw the unseen. I paid, and mounted the insurmountable. I paid, and lived the unliveable. I paid, and knew the unknown. I paid, and heard the unheard. I paid, and paid the unpaid. And I paid, and paid to pay for the priceless. I paid to pay for the invaluable. I called home the unreachable. I vanished in the light. I stole out on the intractable ice. I rose my shoulders above the limits of atmospheric pressure. I called out above the thinnest trace of oxygenated air the name of the unnameable: I.