Over the tenure of this blog Psychic Ills seem like such a load-bearing staple that its hard to believe that songwriter Tres Warren has passed. The band evolved through myriad incarnations — mutating lineups and sounds through the psychedelic swamp. Their early record were nerve-bitten and bracing when others were looking to hang onto more of a pop life raft. Then Warren and his compatriots worked their way to a sort of psychedelic ebullience on their final album, Inner Journey Out, a poison-tipped country-psych ramble that stood as one of their best. While its bittersweet to know that there was yet another album in the making that may never reach our ears, this double sided ode to the relationship between Dennis Wilson and Charles Manson is a lovely curio of remembrance. The band tackles both The Beach Boys’ “Never Learn Not To Love,” the song that was based on Manson’s “Cease To Exist” and part of his rift with Wilson over changes made to the final version. The version here is lush and hazy, wrapped in the same sort of beautiful grace that marked their last album.
On the flip they tackle Manson’s original and give it a much starker treatment, letting the two versions stand in contrast to one another — the former a comforting shoulder and the other a cold rebuke. Both versions are quite worth your time, and wind up an essential pickup for any longtime fans of the band’s catalog. Warren will certainly be missed and reworks like this only prove why that’s true.
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