Saddled in psychedelia-driven colour and haunting, oozing Beatles-esque synth stylings, the 11-track album is a generous project served up on an aptly acid-soaked, Woodstock-reminiscent musical platter
by Skye Mallac
Psych Night forms the pivotal point around which the Cape Town rock scenes revolves – and although something of an exclusive and close-knit group when it comes to local talent, it took little time for Retro Dizzy to infiltrate their ranks. When I first came across the band, they were a three-piece, fresh from Hermanus, brimming with verve and vigour and roughened sound. A few years down the line and one man larger, they’re no longer Mother City newcomers, clumsily straddling the line between garage rock and psych-stylings. Instead polished, chiselled psychedelic rock melody has taken to the fore, and their latest full-length release “Just Relax” is testament of just how far they have come in a few short years.
A well worn green leather armchair emblazons the cover of the LP, encouraging one’s’ relaxation from the moment the offering falls into your lap. Saddled in psychedelia-driven colour and haunting, oozing Beatles-esque synth stylings, the 11-track album is a generous project served up on an aptly acid-soaked, Woodstock-reminiscent musical platter. A bass-driven eighth-note progression eases it into play with ‘Morning Rush’ – which fills out its edges with gradually building synth foundations and Richard Liefeldt’s hazy, honey-glazed vocals.
‘Rapid Fire’ finds its feet in a three-chord progression, jangling and starkly naked beside the gaping open soundscape it’s backed against. The sound is simple but hitches its skirts just high enough to keep them from tripping. Zesty guitar and a lulling baseline forms the stitching to ‘Krokadil’, while hints of country are swiftly stamped out and replaced with oozing synths in ‘Come On Baby’.
The vocals lurk casually in the distance for the majority of the songs, buried beneath a maelstrom of crooning 1960’s style constituents. They venture briefly to the iridescent surface in nostalgia-soaked ‘Scarbourough Sunshine’ before slipping out of focus once again. No excessive energy can be found on the album. There remains a comfortably even-keeled feel to it without becoming too tedious – but hints of their old wildness creep to the fore in ‘Come Closer’, ‘Roffies on the Run’ and ‘Machete Madness’ – reigned in with polished grace.
The title track slips back into wafting psychedelia-laden territory – feather light and floating, tethered only by prevailing bass melody, while ‘Psycosomatic’ ties the ribbon on the offering with gritty rock modules – blanketed by just enough sonic distance for it to remain on the self-same plane as its preceding tracks. Hipster-ism is in its decline and the technicolour kids are back on the block – so to speak – and Retro Dizzy are nothing if not refreshingly old-school.