J. Burd’s third full-length is a woozy trip through lo-fi psychedelic garage pop that is filled with so many catchy earworms, you’ll surely be revisiting this one countless times this summer.
The Long Beach, California band seems to channel the catchy and hazy songwriting skills of both Kings Tuff and Gizzard. Yet they replace the guitar pyrotechnics of both those bands with the laidback whimsy and sunny surrealism of groups like The Olivia Tremor Control and The Skygreen Leopards.
Beatles-esque harmonies dance across this record with backwards guitars and reverb-puckered beats, while a compressed dirty analogue-like production gives everything a sort of lost private recording kind of quality to it.
A major standout to me is the five-minute “Other Kind.” Syd Barrett-like guitars slide and spark while feverish voices call out like specters from the dark, all before the vocal track revs up like a dizzying helicopter and lead the track into a prolonged jam. Since the jamming is a tad on the reserved side here, I am curious to find out how the band plays this portion live. I could easily imagine them stretching the song out for an extra 5-15 minutes more and really throwing a ton of energy behind it. Here’s hoping that we all will find out about that in person in the near future!
Closing the album is possibly the group’s finest example of songwriting. The delicate acoustic and piano-led “Is It Wrong” is a sobering moment of cathartically honest expression. It leaves you feeling like you’ve grown with the band from the start of the record to the end. How many albums can you really say that about?
If Elephant 6 psychedelia and Burger Records garage-pop are two things that you dearly love, then you’d highly appreciate the marriage of these two sounds and vibes on J. Burd’s Ruk ‘u Yaya.