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Friday, December 15, 2006

The Psycrons

“Kyoto? That's the old capital of Japan, isn't it? The place with all the temples and shrines and Geisha and stuff? Yeah, a friend of mine went there once and said it was OK, but it got a bit boring after the fourth or fifth temple. Bloody school kids and middle-aged women everywhere too, he said.”

“Kyoto? Amazing city. The temples and shrines are beautiful and three days just wasn't long enough to do justice to the place. The city just absolutely oozes culture – it's in the buildings and the air itself. Remarkable.”

“Kyoto? Isn't that where they signed the environmental agreement that no bugger pays any attention to?

All stereotypical but plausible reactions to the question, “What do you know about Kyoto?” However, stereotypes are there to be shattered and The Psycrons ought to be the band that put Kyoto on the map for something other than its history and a toothless environmental protocol. Looking like extras who have strayed from the set of an Austin Powers film, and sounding like the last forty years of music has passed them by completely, The Psycrons are here to save the world. OK, that's just journailistic exaggeration, but The Psycrons are definitely here to brighten up the world.

The Miracle of The Psycrons is the band's second album and is out now. It careers around the touchstones of 60s music like Tigger on speed, nicking bits and bobs from all over the place: the scuzzy guitars of The Sonics, the vocal harmonies of The Byrds and a rhythm section straight out of the Motor City. The whole thing is powered by the meaty beaty big and bouncy energy of The Who and it sounds great. Standout tracks include Jetter of Love, which opens the album with a blast; and Footprints in the Winter which sounds like the mutant Japanese cousin of The Mamas and Papas backed by the MC5.

It would be easy to dismiss them as mere copyists who wish they'd been born a generation or two earlier, but that would be to miss the point. The Psycrons are a different breed to the current swathe of UK bands who are all desperately trying to be Gang of Four: their songs have a verve and energy about them that lifts them far beyond mere pastiche. Like The White Stripes, The Psycrons' seem to create more than just music. They have built up an alternative reality for themselves which they inhabit at all times. The Psycrons make no bones about their historical roots – this is who they are and that's that, and when the music's this good that's all that matters.