The last album from ROY embraced the conceptual pop album with all its might. Dipped in ‘60s psychedelics, the album explored a conspiracy-laced narrative involving extra-terrestrials, government agencies, a stone of infinite power, and a message of ultimate peace. The follow-up ditches any overarching story arcs, but keeps the ‘60s psych-pop latched down tight. It’s clear that the band’s Patrick Lefler has spent more than a few hours falling down YouTube rabbit holes of tax-shelter singles, run through the comp list from Chocolate Soup through Perfumed Gardens and back to Nuggets, then scraped the sounds that he’s found the most endearing. It’s easy to pour oneself into the mold of garage-pop from the tail-end of the ‘60s and wind up grinding down on one aspect so hard it feels beat, but what works on Roy’s Garage is that Lefler doesn’t mire himself in one particular band’s shadow for very long.
ROY’s new incarnation is scanning the dial from 13th Floor wobbles and Blues Magoos harmonica-laded rockers to the kaleidoscope caverns of July and Rainbow Ffolly. Then Lefler falls back into the tear-streaked shut-in psych of JK & Co and The End. He paints a stripe from the Kevin Ayers manic wizard school before embracing the progressive end and going full Moodys on “When The Mind Meets The Eye.” The album works in the same way the best compilations of obscurities work and the constant change of tone keeps the listener perked and looking for where Lefler will turn next.
He ties the style-hop together with lyrical latch of introspection, which fits the source material quite nicely. The generation that used acid as a therapist dove through the naval to search for inner meaning, sometimes with surprisingly insightful results. Thankfully the vibes on ROY tend to waver that way. For those already deep in the third-tier psych reissue rabbit hole, this will come as a comfort, but there’s plenty to love for the casual psych-pop fan as well. The last ROY album had ambitions, but this one feels true to Lefler’s psych talismans.
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