A precise, singular term to describe Positive Haywires would be the title itself.
You could call it an album or a collection of songs, but both would be suitable titles for this 16 track, spaced out, drug pit. Positive Haywires’ focuses on being ludicrous and twisted from the word go. It’s uncomfortable and somewhat frightening, with corrupted rhythms, dismantled from possibly piano tones or guitar tones on opener Plum Creek, setting the tone for this creepily addictive LP.
The weirdness crosses and grows on following track Out Like a Lion, as Steve Five’s loose whispers digress into the darker depths of Haywires. With half of Positive Haywires struggling to find the two minute mark, these short musings transpire into chaotic, terrifying, alternate realities constantly; felt only on a bad acid trip.
Psychedelia is the primal grounding for most of Haywires; constructed to either amplify the traditional, upbeat, sun drenched melodies, or be manipulated into become terrifying nightmares with lo-fi infections. On tracks, Cortez the Cuddler, Girl With the Crystal Tears and Claustrophobic Headspace, the terrifying nightmares are a plenty, with Cortez escaping the grasp of psychedelia’s warmth and uniting with the twisted riffs of heavy rock, while Crystal Tears features drone vocal backings and shifty, 90’s horror game ambience, for an odd sense of nostalgia that’s ready to take you back forever.
Claustrophobic Headspace falls somewhere between the above two, starting with an almost slacker rock sound, then progressing to a steady rhythm, before dreary, guitar riffs darken the atmosphere with black smog and isolated breaks of near silence.
On the other side of this creepy LP, lies an escape to the leaking of light that fills your mind with hope and joy. No Purchase Necessary still plays on the weirdness of Haywires, but does so charmingly, with whimsical lyrics on the multiple outputs of modern day earnings, “/make your phone explode with business, you can make money from your own home, we will give you cash for your gold”. It’s only 51 seconds, but it’s 51 seconds of giggles with psychs telling the truth on modern day living.
The familiarity of traditional psych doesn’t just start and end with No Purchase Necessary, it actually begins with Sunny Side of the Street, which is as recognisably psychedelic, as a Pink Floyd. Boasting jiving rhythms and positive lyrics about basically staying positive, Sunny Side brightens up the gloom found spaced out on Haywires.
Finding the positive traditions of psych on the rest of Positive Haywires is somewhat challenging when you focus intently. Blissful opportunities of clarity quickly become sombre, with either jagged piano keys melting together with lifeless psych-waves, or unforgiving guitar riffs. It’s an intriguing ‘attack’ on psych’s normality, and begins to question whether or not psychedelia has become conformed to a set formation, becoming a cognitive piece of the modern musical industry. Or maybe I’m reading in between the lines.
Positive Haywires is out now through Hidden Shoal and is available in CD/Cassette and digital formats.