Australia's Psych Scene Is A Portal To Another World

Australia's Psych Scene Is A Portal To Another World

Meet five groups you need in your life...

Australian music - or at least, the groups who make it over to these shores - tend to have a penchant for realism, for reflecting the everyday.

Whether that's the hard rock boogie of AC/DC or the journalistic observations of Courtney Barnett, some of the country's finest songwriters have developed an ability for Telling It Like It Is.

Alongside this, however, a series of disparate communities have sprung up across Australia that aim to shatter the boundaries of the consciousness, to well and truly break on though to the other side.

Groups like Tame Impala have found international success, with lynchpin Kevin Parker emerging as one of the most influential producers in modern music.

Indeed, the band sit at the centre of a Western Australia solar system that encompasses the lysergic travails of Pond - and off-shoots such as Gum - or the riff blasting sonic portals opened up by Psychedelic Porn Crumpets.

With King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard representing a universe of their own, it's clear that Australia is one of the world's psychedelic hotspots, with a host of new groups aiming to aid a cosmic element to these dystopian times.

Here's five new groups you need in your life.

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The Lazy Eyes

Six string wig-out specialists The Lazy Eyes broke out in 2020, with their excellent debut EP - the aptly titled 'EP1' - winning rave reviews for its floral guitar frenzies and maxi-dosing atmosphere.

There's a new EP incoming - the equally apt 'EP2' - but beneath these prosaic titles you'll find a heaving mesh of psychedelic ideology, with The Lazy Eyes pitting youthful precocity against a desire to unlock every door in front of them.

Interstellar songwriting that is crisp of production and colour-saturated of sound, each new song from The Lazy Eyes seems to burn a hole in your stereo, a truly 21st century form of the psychedelic trip.

Otherworldly and wise, the band's pop elements are potent enough to help the Sabbath-esque poison go down.

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Bananagun

Melbourne has established itself as one of Australia's cultural hubs, with an unending series of creative collectives working to make genre-lines utterly irrelevant.

Rightly lauded for its densely innovative jazz community, these cross-border pursuits lend Bananagun a curious type of energy, one that allows their psychotropic palette that absorb heady elements of tropacalia sunshine and Tony Allen's endless rhythmic innovation.

Debut album 'The True Story Of Bananagun' landed in 2020 and it was - to put it mildly - a word of mouth sensation, an utterly inspirational lysergic feast that boasted killer melodies, thriller beats, and gorgeous, gorgeous vocal lines.

An absolute feast, Bananagun's debut album felt like a Lewis Carroll feast, one where each cake - or each song - could unlock hitherto unexplored elements of the mind. It was damn groovy too, mind.

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The Murlocs

A group who skirt the edges of the King Gizzard panorama - they share two members - The Murlocs opt for a dirtier, scuzzier take on the psychedelic sound.

It's a brown acid trip, with Ambrose Kenny-Smith's heavily distorted harmonica sound becoming a clarion call for those on the hinterlands of the human consciousness.

Four studio albums have followed, picking up the mantle of long-haired amp busters such as The Pretty Things, while adding their own, unique, and deeply 21st century take on the lysergic template.

2019's 'Manic Candid Episode' was a scorching return from The Murlocs, with some its soulful R&B elements recalling the fetid, hallucinogenic muck that surrounded the 'Electric Mud' sessions.

Sludge heavy garage punk that scorches its way into third eye territory, this Melbourne lot are guaranteed to deliver a contact high.

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Babe Rainbow

Babe Rainbow hail from Byron Bay, an area of Australia more readily associated with its fast-and-furious punk scene.

Occupying a world of their own, Babe Rainbow have spun a delicious web across three studio albums, gradually absorbing soft pop elements, and even aspects of South American culture through Lu-Lu-Felix Domingo's Venezuelan heritage.

Psych-pop constructed with a painterly touch, Babe Rainbow seem to thrive on feeling, unhooking themselves from logical realms and embarking on lengthy journeys across turbulent inner oceans.

2019's 'Today' is a real highlight, with the band's impeccable chemistry result in a supreme piece of psychedelic world-building.

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Sunfruits

Melbourne's ridiculously youthful Sunfruits have a pure innocence to their sound - bubblegum pop from kids who have no intentions of rotting your teeth, theirs is a psych-pop concoction that arrives beaming in a buoyant, cartoonish light.

We've only heard a flurry of singles to date, but each seems to exist in its own world. There's the beaming glory of their self-titled 'Sunfruits' - a mission statement of sorts - or the mind-expanding trips that await on 'Mushroom Kingdom', each seeming to offer a rabbit hole that leads to another realm.

Watery guitar effects, a tight-as-hell rhythm section, and those heavily melodic vocals - Sunfruits are coming into bloom, and there's no telling where this journey will stop.

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