Permanent Clear Light are a Finnish trio who I’ve become acquainted with through their numerous contributions to Fruits de Mer Records compilations and their 7″ single on Fruits de Mer released last year. Beyond These Things is their full length debut, employing guitars, bass, Theremin, Mellotron, percussion, violin, cornet, synths, electronics and more, to create an outstanding marriage of Pop-Psych, Prog Rock, and… well… ALL things psychedelic.
The album opens with Constant Gardner, an infectiously melodic pop-psych tune with a 60s feel but by no means retro. The dual violin and guitar solo at the end is sheer beauty. Ribes Nigrum and And The Skies Will Fall are both gentle orchestral Folk-Pop-Psych songs with beautiful singing efx’d guitar solos. This is music you hear once and feel like it’s been with you all your life. Love Gun is a little different, having a down ‘n dirty Bluesy edge. Skirmish is a cool grooving, melodic jazzy instrumental with shades of the Beatles, plus totally tripped out guitar and space effects. The banjo and harmonica give Weary Moon a cowboy country sound, but this dreamily bucolic song has just as much of a Celtic feel, like the theme to a Howard Hawks film set in the Irish countryside. And then we have a couple longer tracks that flex their instrumental muscles and explore. Harvest Time is the ultimate blend of Pop-Psych, Acid Rock and Prog. It’s a catchy psychedelic song with killer melodic hooks, but near the 3 minute mark it blasts off into an intense, spaced out psych rocking jam with brain massage guitar, while never completely abandoning the song. On last year’s Fruits de Mer single, I described Higher Than The Sun as starting off with acoustic guitar, orchestration and spaced out alien affects. It’s a lovely pastoral folk-psych song with orchestral embellishment, a killer melodically ripping guitar solo, beautiful vocals singing of all things outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and all surrounded by effects that sound like something from a Louis and Bebe Barron soundtrack. That was the 3:33 minute song on the single. On the CD it’s 9+ minute stunner titled Higher Than The Sun: Astral Travel. It starts off exactly the same as the single… BUT, at the end of the song portion the band veer off into some seriously freaky space noodling, tripping along for a bit before peaking with another powerhouse Pop-Psych meets Prog instrumental workout. It’s got a vibe like the lysergic instrumental bits from The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus, while maintaining the principle Higher Than The Sun melodic theme.
Damn, this is a good album. It’s got excellent compositions, arrangements, musicianship and production. It’ll easily make my Best of 2013 list. File under Psychedelic, but expect FAR more.
For more information visit the Permanent Clear Light web site at: http://permanentclearlight.bandpage.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz