A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye
Psychedelic in the sense of “anything goes,” as opposed to tired DayGlo nostalgia, San Francisco’s Cool Ghouls project a sloppy party-going-overboard vibe that belies their considerable assets. This vibrant sophomore album was recorded by Sonny Smith, leader of Sonny and the Sunsets, and like that lovably slackerish crew, this snappy quartet uses a studied casualness to mask major pop smarts. Guitars veer abruptly from snarling fuzztones to folk-rock chimes and back, while the cascading three-part vocal harmonies are sunny exuberance exemplified, but never fussy or precise, and the songs are downright catchy. Recommended to fans of the Beau Brummels or Robyn Hitchcock—and anybody else needing a quick mood elevator.