[sic] Magazine

You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons – Population IV

So eager were Cardinal Fuzz to shed some deserved light on You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons’ cult 2009 LP Contact High that they put their money where their mouth is last year, sinking their nest egg into a luxurious double-vinyl re-release. It was – and remains – a bit of a doozy. Population IV is hence the Portsmouth band’s first new material for five years and again the good folk at Cardinal Fuzz have got their back. It’s a record that retains Demons’ trademark heavy-psyche and Eastern flavours while dialling down the intergalactic in favour of pure doom. The second half of “Chapel Perilous”, for example, comes on almost Bong-like, such is its sludgy foreboding and leaden groove.

Population IV is named in honour of Blue Cheer guitarist Randy Holden and it’s classic tripping-out rock in so much as it takes you on a journey. You blast off from a platform of heavy fuzz and frazzled, cosmic riffs into a storm of psychedelic melodies and wah wah frenzy courtesy of “Sad Alien & Winking Skeleton” – a track that recalls the smart “Great Shakes Baby” from Contact High. From there on in, however, the mood darkens; tribal drums take hold, the echoing spaces in the hypnotic atmosphere coloured in with distortion trails.

Acute paranoia develops during the 10-minute “Throne Control”, spidery badland blues and ominous percussion reverbed out not unlike last year’s Old Testament LP. The psychedelic wandering continues, the band embracing epic stoner jams where heavy-lidded chugathons beckon the sandman, the final track, “Hothouse”, culminating in the sort of suffocating sweat-lodge freak-out its title purports it to be. As honest as the day is long then … and on planet Population IV the days are loooooooooong.

Best track: “Sad Alien & Winking Skeleton”

~Population IV is limited to a pressing of 500 and is released on two-colour swirl vinyl February 2nd 2015 on Cardinal Fuzz (distributed in the US by Captcha Records).~

[sic] review: You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons – Contact High