For a guy most famous for his tambourine work, Joel Gion’s got quite a range on his eponymous LP for Beyond Beyond is Beyond. The artist, best known for his work as auxiliary percussionist/ hype man for the great psychedelic circus that is The Brian Jonestown Massacre has explored his own psych leanings before, most notably on 2014’s Apple Bonkers, but here he lifts off into his own lush vision of lounge psychedelics. Drenched in flute, wafting with synth atmospheres and practically breathing a smoke of its own, the album is oscillating between the spires of Spiritualized, The Telescopes and the more languid arm of Tropicalia (think Tom Ze’s ’68-’70 work or London exile-era Caetano Veloso).
That combination of candlelit confessionals and pillowy effects makes for a unique vision of modern psych that’s a touch lighter, not afraid to wander into territory that could be construed as indulgently soft. There are certainly lite jazz elements here, but Gion’s ability to drop back into a lush, cinematic swirl of salsa makes the album feel every bit like it could serve as the backdrop to a casino scene in any given Connory-led Bond film. Gion’s albums don’t come out at a rushed pace, and while his name still garners more recognition with Jonestown than it ever will on its own, this is a choice nugget for collectors of a decidedly luxurious psych format, one that leaves behind any notions of Beatles vs. Stones and makes its home in the clouds far above such touchstones.
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