Stony Sugarskull- Gaia
As hazy as a dust storm and as beautifully warped as a Fata Morgana, Stony Sugarskull’s Gaia is a true modern acid rock gem.
Hailing from Berlin, Germany, Monika Demmler’s Stony Sugarskull plays a gorgeously haunting and hypnotic dark psychedelic rock that is both mysterious and hugely enigmatic. Their ghostly sound is right at home with the likes of The Warlocks, The Vacant Lots and Marissa Nadler, as it invokes images of things like a peyote-inspired séance in a dark, candle strewn urban attic or an aimless wander through a moonlit desert at three o’clock in the morning.
In each song on this excellent EP, Demmler’s crystalline cellophane vocals shiver straight under your skin while smoky guitars cloud up the atmosphere and jangly percussion conjures up the halcyon spirit of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The sound is indeed quite psychedelic, but in a very subtle and minimal sort of way. The band creates a plethora of moods and feelings by only using a simplistic combination of vocals, guitars, bass, synths and percussion along with a smartly executed reverb-heavy production. This approach creates a mesmerizingly monochromatic dreamscape that is every bit as lysergic as some of the more Technicolor-vibed psych albums out there.
The track “Empty” is a great example of this. It’s a chilly, trance-inducing song with a driving rhythm and one of the most ghostly bridges ever committed to tape. It summons mental images of pale, leather jacket-clad apparitions in dark shades and Beatle boots, lightly clutching crinkled joints between long, slender fingers.
Every track here is strong enough to each be released as standalone singles, and that’s rare for an EP. You usually get a couple of throw-aways onto an EP, but even the bonus additions of the live versions of “Skunk Ghosts” and “Empty” are outstanding.
As a whole, Gaia is an ethereal, dreamy soundscape that saunters with a poignant, shadowy energy that lingers long after it’s over. Putting this record on will make just about anyone want to burn some special incense, perhaps consume some mystical pants and dance in the nearest ancient cemetery.
Gaia is available on vinyl and download via the band’s bandcamp page