03 April 2019 (released)
17 June 2019
“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” On the surface, the premise of psychedelic music is light and silly. Colourful hallucinations and giggle fits induced by the deconstruction of the world around you. Life is all a farce. At first, that notion brings levity but eventually, it becomes a soul-crushing reality. Existential dread is bred and fed by that concept. Pink Floyd's moments of heavenly levity were always eventually intercut with the inevitable evil and hypocrisy of human nature. Radiohead seems to unify those two extremes into one fantastic hopeless bliss-out. Even The Beatles who's psychedelic dalliances produced 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' and 'All You Need is Love' also, in turn, produced the cynical 'I Me Mine', 'I Am the Walrus', 'Yer Blues' and a litany of others with dark, spirit-crushing connotations. Pursuing the phantasmagorical can cause a mania where the bright shiny highs are met with the dark nature of meaninglessness.
Nimo & The Light seize upon the unifying laid-back pop elements of psychedelic rock's most prominent players to paint a surreal picture free of the existential edge that tends to pervade those archetypal records. There is definitely strife and adversity in the tales told but they seem to avoid the melodramatic impending doom that tends to accompany these mind-expanding adventures. Nimo & The Light set this lighter mood in both musical tone and lyrics. We are led on a journey through our character's lives with an “oh well, what are you gonna do?” attitude that doesn't bog the listener down in the unanswerable mysteries. Much more McCartney than Lennon or Harrison. That attitude is reflected in the music. Odd notes are thrown in to convey a sense of wonder and mystery but the tracks don't hinge on those chords of despair that inevitably crop up in most psychedelic works.
Beyond the classic '60s psychedelia, there's another element at play here. The measured minor bounce of '80s stalwarts The Cure, The Smiths and Depeche Mode. The Light plays off the glow of that style's heightened reality, echoing Johhny Marr's upstroked E minor cascades and casual Sunday darkness. The opener 'Stains' has a lot of the same sonic markers as a track like The Smiths 'How Soon Is Now?', albeit with a less macabre tone. Vibrato guitars with hearty midrange, swirling vocals that coalesce into the orchestration and a medium-paced shuffle from the drums.
The lead single 'Skin to Skin' has a summer breeziness to it. Although a slightly ominous synth fills the introduction, the warmth of shimmering guitars and airy vocals soon take over. The narrator waxes poetic about the heat of the sun and the welcoming arms of the ocean. Later album tracks 'Naked Soul' and 'Form a Light' have an equally sun-kissed aura.
Psychedelia has found a home in all manner of genres. It's no longer a category in and of itself, it permeates everywhere making an impact all across the musical spectrum. Nimo & The Light's particular brand of surrealism is that of indie rock dreamscape. Painting a warm picture for the summer adventures to come.