Last year I became aware of this Italian psych-pop band called The Vickers. They had a Bandcamp page that sported two very excellent tunes. “She’s Lost” and “I Don’t Know What It Is” sounded like tracks pulled from a time capsule that had been buried under the fertile soils of Florence, Italy for the past 45 years. Filled with both psychedelic flourishes and pop hooks that planted themselves firmly in your brain and wouldn’t leave for days, these songs were teases of what would eventually be a full-length record. The tease is over, and The Vickers have arrived with the aforementioned full-length titled Ghosts. It’s a great debut that delivers on the promise of those first two tracks.
The Vickers’ sound is firmly planted between the years 1965 to 1967. If there’s a blueprint to their brand of rock n’ roll it would be The Beatles’ Revolver. Lead singer and guitarist Andrea Mastropietro sounds very much like John Lennon, with hints of Kevin Parker thrown in for good measure. He’s not aping Lennon, he just naturally sounds like him. “Senseless Life” opens like an acoustic version of “A Day In The Life” before becoming something completely its own. The Vickers are a tight rock n’ roll band. They show that throughout Ghosts. Where most psych bands tend to go for that weathered, wavering tape wobble in the sonic department these Italian rockers tend to go for a very clean, classical approach to sound. Drums are crisp, clean, and almost jazzy in delivery. Vocals are clear but somewhere down in a reverb-drenched hole, while bass and guitars swirl in a technicolor kaleidoscope of sound. The Vickers take pride in how they present their songs and it comes through. “Hear Me Now” sounds like Cheap Trick-meets-Smithereens with a splash of Wilco in that great guitar tone(if you’re familiar with “Spiders(Kidsmoke)” you’ll recognize that effect instantly.) Spacey and trippy this track begs you to get lost for it’s four minutes. “Inside A Dream” starts out quiet and builds into a psychedelic froth, complete with a great drum freakout at the end. You never get the feeling of being put on by these guys. So many bands put the psych name tag on because they feel that’s going to get fans and sell records. The Vickers take elements of psych and pop and classic rock n’ roll, mix ’em up in a tasty gelato with a flavor all their own. “Walking On A Rope” reminds you of some of those classic Townsend acoustic numbers that blow up into some great noise. And I think there’s harpsichord in there as well. Gotta love some harpsichord. The album closes with the title track that takes us out on a crisp, jazzy ride cymbal and Andrea’s melancholy vocals before they get swallowed by a massive wall of reverb.
The Vickers’ Ghosts is a great album to get lost in on a breezy afternoon or a starlit evening. Grab a copy at http://thevickers.bandcamp.com/.
7. 3 out of 10