Acid Baby Jesus – Lilac Days (Fuzz Club)

Image result for acid baby jesus lilac days

Acid Baby Jesus’ first two albums were great slabs of damaged heavy psych with a twisted sense of humor, but on Lilac Days they try to achieve the same effect with prettier songs played at lower volumes. If you’re looking for reference points for their newly minted sonic approach, consider Lilac Days as the sound of Acid Baby Jesus discovering The Byrds, The Turtles and Buffalo Springfield; replete with 12 string guitars, bouncier beats and generally sweeter sounds. It’s not bad, and it’s kinda interesting to hear a band from Greece trying a very American style on for size, but damn if I don’t end up missing the mind-bending darker sounding stuff. The problem is that, unlike those inspirational West Coast bands from the ’60s, Acid Baby Jesus don’t write great pop tunes, aren’t great harmony singers, and their rhythm section kinda plods. Even when they get a little punkier on “Me and Panormita” and “Guide Us In”, the quicker pace is wasted on benign performances. Even on a less than stellar album, guitar duo Noda Pappas and Dale MacDonald manage to impress with neat little tricks like the Eastern scales on the title track, or the warped jangling notes that make “Faces Of Janus” far more interesting that it would have been otherwise.

Acid Baby Jesus – Selected Recordings (Slovenly Recordings)

I don’t know who your favorite Greek psychedelic band is, but mine is the mighty Acid Baby Jesus. Selected Recordings is their second full-length album, and it’s a pretty goddamn wild trip. Where a lot of modern psychedelic bands are content to simply work within the genre’s preconceived boundaries, these guys seem legitimately weird, which makes a huge difference. Their first album had a garage rock vibe that reminded me of Ty Segall, but Selected Recordings is almost uniformly dedicated to drugged-up drone-rock damage. Songs like “Diogenes”, “Night of Pan” and “Ayahuasca Blues” have me thinking of The Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties” but with modern production and a Spacemen 3-like dedication to achieving a noisy nirvana that replicates (or enhances) the drug experience. “Who’s First” is a sonic outlier, sounding like an obscure single from the early days of California punk. Oh, and the lyrics have something to do with a gay cop looking to give someone oral sex. You won’t hear that on the next Foxygen album! Two songs later, “Troublemaker” blasts your brain with Sabbath-y heaviness that’s always welcome. From start to finish Selected Recordings has cool sounds and cool songs, so check it out.

Acid Baby Jesus – LP (Slovenly Recordings)

Acid Baby Jesus
If I had to guess Acid Baby Jesus’ hometown based on the sound of their debut album, I’d say it had to be somewhere in North America because they make heavily reverbed, slightly skewed, garage punk deconstructions similar to other current American and Candian bands – Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Mark Sultan, Brimstone Howl…etc. are sonic peers – yet ABJ are from Greece. How they picked up on the genre so far away from the source is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure glad they did because this album destroys. I really like the freewheeling “anything can happen” approach which keeps you wondering just what the next moment will bring. The element of surprise pays dividends with unexpected left-turns into dark Velvet Underground-inspired territory on “Mesmerized”, down-and-out blues on “Tooth To Toe” and the robotic vocals of “Android Robot”. They have a sense of humor too, which is why there’s a song called “Old Fart”, a self-deprecating ’50s-styled rocker called “I’m A Baby”, and the demented Cramps-as-’60s-frat-band death-march of “Homo Sapiens”. If you like your garage rock warped and wild, Acid Baby Jesus are worth your time.
1 Tomboy
2 Android Robot
3 Fingerpainting
4 Tyrannosaurus Rex
5 Mesmerized
6 Why Aren’t You Laughing Now?
7 Old Fart
8 Tooth To Toe
9 Homo Sapiens
10 Oh, Aurelia
11 I’m A Baby
12 Horse
13 You Had It Coming