Well, when you dive into it, theres a whole lotta backstory behind Peace, Love, and Outer Space. It centers around benevolent beings descending from space to offer a gift of peace that goes terribly awry for the recipient. Governmental intervention ensues, the message of peace is lost in a skirmish with the authorities and ROY as it were is left a changed person — open to the universe, but betrayed by his own fellow man. That story is spread over the nine tracks here, but it’s linked within a gauzy haze of psych-pop that makes it a skosh less cut and dry and a whole lot less ‘cult-culture pamphlet piece” than that might sound. Canadian label Idée Fixe has a longstanding tenure with psychedelics, but they rarely reach this far into the pop waters. The record is tin-hat certified but also lovingly crafted, draped in a lush pop pedigree that falls in easily with current contemporaries like HOLY, Jacco Gardner, or Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel. Though, historically, the band most earnestly threads their psychedelic needle with the same golden yarns that tied together the lush epics of Todd Rundgren before them.
Stylistically they skip between languid waters that threaten to melt into the soil, shimmering love-addled syrup-psych, and heavier riffs that thicken the pudding enough to give this one more than just a focus on the peace and love of the title. There’s a lot of reverberating gauze, and perhaps that’s to be expected, but the band can get into a high octane bit of garage pop when they want to. Sure, its all a bit much, but that’s sorta the point. If you’re not in it for the high-concept hipswing then you might as well just exit now. With members in tow from fellow Toronto psych bands Kaleidoscope Horse, Vypers, Possum and Hot Garbage, the ranks are deep enough to make this concept land on equal footing with the musicianship. Strap in for the full ride, though, and ROY’s LP is a candy-colored careen through the fourth wall of the studio.
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