The second installment of ‘Plastique Universe’ by Brooklyn-based psych rock troupe CHAPPO has arrived: Pisces Princess. The EP series began with the first installment in early 2010. A year later the swank psych foundation has blossomed with better production and more expansive compositions that sit on the musical palate like a good glass of Barolo. Heavy tannins on this record, as if it had been sitting on the shelf since the 1970s, while it aged to a ripe perfection.
Leadoff track "Petrified Sand" rocks an up-tempo beat for a classic guitar howler. Like Janis Joplin’s backing band was let loose for the night and just decided to find some local dive to kick out the jams until two, three, four in the morning. Dive bar boogie. The psych end of the spectrum gets a shout out from the acid casualty, drone pop of "Séance", complete with a mid-song spoken word incantation to unknown, elemental gods.
The general atmosphere of rock ‘n’ roll revival runs all through the EP. But the island rhythms of "Bodies Coasting" and sweet & country-fried "Lay With Me" (which could have been written by Bob Dylan and sung by Neil Young) are especially nostalgic for a type of songwriting, composition, and instrumentation that is growing ever more rare with the onset of the digital age. CHAPPO uses synths and tweaks some strange sounds out of those keyboards – but the real soul of the band is expressed in the live instrument approach. Pisces Princess has a warm, full sound that benefits from doing things the old-fashioned way, with a few electro gewgaws thrown in for good measure. If CHAPPO flips the best of their EPs into a full-length record, as so many indie bands do these days, the band will have a very impressive debut LP on their hands.