Santiago, Chile isn’t what I would imagine to be a psychedelic hot spot in the world, but Holydrug Couple are here to show me -and the rest of the world- otherwise. Noctuary is at once dreamy and pleasant and also disorienting and hallucinogenic. If last year’s Lonerism by Tame Impala and Melody’s Echo Chamber s/t did anything to make your extremeties tingle with delight, than place the tab on your tongue and step into The Holydrug Couple’s sensory deprivation tank they like to call Noctuary and float a bit.
“Counting Sailboats” is a pleasant ride through 40 years of psych pop, much like Melody Prochet’s “I Follow You” was. The vocals are barely above the musical surface here. Floating like a buoy in technicolor waters, they shimmer in reverb and echo as organ, guitar, bass, and Kevin Parker-approved drums take us through the paisley tunnel. ‘Sailor’ opens with a phase-accented acoustic strummed while keys come in like a cosmic symphony. The key to these songs is to not get to any specific point. The key to these songs is the journey. Headphones are required to truly appreciate what is going on here and an open mind is necessary to let all those acid-tinged notes and hazily colored songs soak in. “Follow Your Way” sounds like Todd Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me” slowed down to a snail’s pace, complete with tracers and black lights, and the subtle waft of incense in the air. “Out of Sight” is just that. At nearly 8 minutes this track is like a slow melt into the floor of the basement. Headphones firmly planted you feel as if you become part of the beanbag chair you’re sitting in. Like I said, Noctuary is about the journey, not the destination. “Out of Sight” is reminiscent of the latter half of My Morning Jacket’s “Off The Record”, all floating resonance and meager aspirations. As if the goal of the day is to drink a glass of juice and flip to record the side 2. Ives Sepúlveda and Manuel Parra have outdone themselves with this song. Starting out like a quiet wind, then building to a freakout, only to fall back into the quiet poppy fields once again. Throughout Noctuary, songs like “Wonder”, “Paisley”, “Willoweed”, and the closer “It’s Dawning” never falter. They remain steadfast in their goal to pick you up and take you along for a ride. Where are we going? It doesn’t matter, as the journey is what’s important here.
The Holydrug Couple are keeping the psych rock movement alive and well. And with Noctuary, they keep it relevant. It’s a trip worth taking.
7 out of 10