It’s extremely frustrating to be a reviewer in 2020. You receive huge amounts of really great music to listen to, your appetite grows yet you are unable to see any of the bands you just discovered live. With the lockdown and venues closed down for good, it’s really hard to predict when it will be possible to finally attend live gigs. And if the bands you just wrote about don’t do any streaming performances, then you are forced close your eyes and pretend you are at your favourite boozer, next to the stage and the band is rocking the crowd to a hurricane.
Luckily for me, I don’t have to imagine seeing The Psycho Relics playing live. They may be a brand new five piece from Brighton that have played just a single show so far but I know very well what they are capable of. Before their exile to the South, Harrison Baird-Whitman (vocals, guitar) and Joseph Devine (guitar) were based in the West Midlands and played as a duo called As Mamas. Their energy and stage presence were unmatched. I’m sure the same qualities will undoubtedly become The Psycho Relics trademarks soon enough.
As Mamas’ demise could be partially contributed to the limited instruments Harrison and Joe could use on stage. With guitar and drums only, it was hard for them to bring the studio sound into their live performances. As a quintet, the problem is now resolved. The Psycho Relics have two guitars, drums (Sam Morley), bass (Daniel Stirrat) and keys (Ed Prideaux) to rely on and to charm the audience with their 60’s inspired, western-flavoured garage psychedelia.
‘Rocking Chair’ is the debut offering from the band and it’s simply excellent. Harrison is an immensely talented singer, the song twists and twangs, changes tempo and makes you want to dance. It was described as a “lost soundtrack to 1990’s Tarantino movies” (Plugged in Brighton),”rollercoaster of tight time-signature changes that infuse their tracks with an energy and confidence” (Brighton Source), and “this is rock and fucking roll” (Bad Luck Magazine). And we have to agree with all three reviews.
As Mamas received strong backing from many heavyweights in the industry including The BBC and Mike Joyce (who still remembered them when I spoke to him at Un-Convention in Manchester earlier this year!) and I’m sure The Psycho Relics will go the same route. Do yourself a favour and once the lockdown ends grab tickets to their shows. You will not be disappointed. In the meantime, put the kettle on, get the single on repeat and read an article in The Guardian, penned by the talented Ed Prideaux.