There’s hardly a better argument to the sterling reputation of Sun City Girls than 1990’s Torch of the Mystics. They were rarely as coherent, crisp, or as cutting as they were right here, divining the spirit of a transistor radio bouncing signals off the ionosphere and picking up lost transmissions that seem to come from other worlds entirely, then hammering them into some odd pop fashion. The Bishops are in full form here, guitar and bass clashing and gnashing as ever they would and the late, great Charlie Gocher crashes through like a man possessed. At this point the band has become something of a totemic touchstone for psychedelic intensity, unhinged world music as shot through the prism of psych-folk and neo-African garage, but this album is the physical proof of why so many bands will tell you that Sun City was an eye opener for them. This is the record that gave Richard Bishop his knighthood. Its the record that’s pulling all the punches, because they’re laser focused and not on the verge of flying into oblivion at every corner here. Here they’re finding that spark that fed the beast and letting it fan to flame.
The original cut was always known for its tinny sound and this was rectified a bit on the ’93 CD version but here its back on vinyl and feeling as full as it ever could. For the heads in hte audience, this is an essential piece of the puzzle. And its good to have a reason to point a few people in its direction.
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