It’s been two years since Devonian Gardens (at the time known as Deadhorse) holed up in the wilds of Nova Scotia and recorded most of their second LP. Now, after recording a couple of more songs for the album in their hometown of Calgary, they’ve finally released Solar Shifting under their new name, a psychedelic-rock pop effort that strikes a perfect balance between the three.
After the first few notes of the premiere track, it’s apparent that Devonian Gardens will take the listener back to another era with a fuzzy far-out sound that is immediately reminiscent of the late ‘60s. But the band takes that sound and makes it their own by holding back on heavy riffs that would otherwise overpower the psychedelic element to their music, with well-executed vocal harmonies throughout the album that showcase their vocal talent.
Standout tracks include “Swallow Sun,” a strong opener with a summery vibe that would go perfectly with a sunny day and a cold beer. After a few strong tracks, the band takes a step back and builds tension over a couple of tracks in an interlude in a slow and steady build of fuzziness that takes the listener up into space before snatching them back down to earth with the rowdy “People’s Fight Song,” the strong guitar and loud vocals an abrupt but welcome change. On “Cat Music” they take full advantage of their female vocal talent, allowing the ladies to take the lead on this mellow, simplistic song with impressive harmonies. Vocals are also on display on the penultimate track “Night Beams,” with memorable lines like “So they don’t see it now but it’ll show / That it’s better to slow down than go go go / How to shake our souls out of this indifference” that are more prominent compared to elsewhere on the album.
Even if you think you’re not a fan of the psychedelic, Solar Shifting is worth a listen and will more than likely change your opinion, with its masterful layering, playful harmonies and trippy sound.