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RANCHO RELAXO (New Kind Of Orchide) CD

There are two poppy capsules on the backside of RANCHO RELAXO's debut album 'New Kind Of Orchide', released by Merlins Nose Records in 2010, and it should therefore be clear that this Norwegian band is interested in mind-altering substances. And, if not, they were still able to record an album that sounds as if it has been recorded in an opium den in China. They manage it with the greatest of ease to make you feel as if you you were lying there surrounded by opium paraphernalia. And, of course, you're stoned. With the help of repetetive riffs and flowing song structures, RANCHO RELAXO create a surreal, hallucinogenic atmosphere where the quality of the included fifteen tracks doesn't not suffer.

Sometimes it's a beautiful combination of 1960's drone-rock and the sonic crunch of The Stooges or The Seeds, although bands such as The Byrds have left their traces here, too. That is, of course, nothing new when one considers that groups like Loop and Spacemen 3 have done this almost two decades ago. And then, there are The Black Angels who are at home in the same musical terrain. But RANCHO RELAXO is definitely on par with The Black Angels. At least in my world. Melancholy prevails in most of the tracks from which the listener can hardly withdraw. The vocals are not always easy to decipher, frequently mixed down or embedded in wonderful effects and they can sound very ethereal.

Most of the tracks are enveloped in reverb, locked in a slowly decaying echo. All this makes for a hypnotic, atmospheric, pulsating and catchy album. Please don't ask me to pick out individual tracks, because for me there are no standouts and everything fits in perfectly. 'New Kind Of Orchide' is pretty stellar psychedelic rock with breadcrumbs of shoegazer, and if you dig the aforementioned groups then you should buy this album as soon as possible. Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out - I want more!