Shadow People is a great reminder that no matter how long a band has been knocking around the catacombs of your reviews, is best not to discount them. The Limiñanas have long found their way to feature around here but, admittedly, it was in scrappier garage rock times when labels like HoZac and Trouble in Mind were just putting down stakes and building up stockpiles of singles that came fast and curious. The band progressed to some decent EPs and their first album or two were rock solid. But I lost pace with them after a couple of years and they seemed to bubble along in a garage-psych haze that was serviceable, but left other acts pulling my time and attention.
Well, here we are in the opening throws of 2018 and the band has taken their various influences of note (Gainsbourg, Morricone, Bardot) and mashed them into a stew with prime cuts of late ‘90s and early aughts psych pop for what stands as their best record yet. With the aid of veritable legends ¬– Anton Newcombe, Peter Hook – they craft an album that bubbles along with the motorik pulse of Stereolab, breaks into the dense kaleidoscopic psych of Super Furry Animals and, naturally evokes The Brian Jonestown Massacre and New Order themselves. The record is more than a jumble of guest spots, though. It weaves together their pop elements into a heady, smoke-choked vision of psych that’s got that thick sound perpetuated by the aughts’ standouts, without grinding into the kind of nihilistic whirr that often ground out the less fortunate of the time period. In other words, they know how to drone, but make it sparkle at the same time.
I’ll admit, I do have a particular fondness for the era of psych bands the band draws on and their seeming prominence at college radio during my tenure may give this one a nostalgic feel for me. But, The Limiñanas pull it off without sounding so much like they’re stuck in the past, pantomiming Soundrack of Our Lives covers on the company dime. Instead Shadow People feels like its dipping in all the same wells as some of the era’s most solid senders for a record that echoes the past, but feels boundlessly timeless.
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