I fail to understand why it took so long until I finished this review about the new album of Norway's RANCHO RELAXO. The music cannot be the reason, because already the previous album, 'New Kind Of Orchide', (review here) was very pleasing to my ear. 'Happy Friday Experiment' picks up where the latter stopped. In concrete terms, this means that the listener is taken on a hypnotic, soothing trip to finest 1960's-influenced psychedelic music. As before, RANCHO RELAXO decided to abandon loud and heavy guitars, but take their strength out of beautiful melodies which are embedded in a constantly mesmerizing sound.
Supplementary reverb raises the ethereal experience and gives me a feeling of being in the same Chinese opium den that I have already mentioned in the review for 'New Kind Of Orchide'. No doubt that 'Happy Friday Experiment' has definitely someting of a narcotic quality. What is fascinating about RANCHO RELAXO is that the instruments melt to a kaleidoscopic unity and also the vocals of Inge Kjetil Malmedal (who is the founder and head of the band) are only a part of the whole, not dominate it. The main focus is on dense sonic textures that generate a feeling of spiritual salvation.
To do so, RANCHO RELAXO do not need endless songs. As with the previous album, the average length of the 12 songs is between 2 and 4 minutes, which is sufficient to produce an intense lysergic atmosphere. The song structures are repetitive, but in this case it isn't a creative accident but rather completely intentional. In other words, it's an important stylistic element of RANCHO RELAXO. Alternation is provided by different instrumentations, ranging from acoustic and electric guitars to organ and sitar, but there's more as the last track 'Into The Night' shows. To these must be added some bittersweet melodies, and ready is this gorgeous album. If you're fan of true psychedelic music, do yourself a favour and give it a chance.