The union of blues and psychedelic music is a long and storied one, extending back at least to the 1960s British Invasion and through countless revivals of the garage-rock sound. This Seattle-based band honors that tradition on its second album, bringing its contemporary spin to the proceedings.
Lead guitarist and singer Danny Lee Blackwell runs his fuzzy guitar growl through oodles of reverb and employs judicious doses of feedback; you can feel his tone quiver through your head like a bare electric wire snapping snakelike in your lysergic dreams. Or maybe we're just hearing the sound of Jeff Beck's broken speaker cone in Blow-Up.
Like consummate musicologists, Night Beats allow other inspirations to seep into their tunes. "Catch a Ride to Sonic Bloom" opens with what sounds like a harmonium, imparting an atmosphere that is vaguely raga but definitely trippy, especially when combined with the dizzying combination of chimes and electronic oscillations. And, wait, is that a dulcimer?
The eight-minute closer "The New World" grinds along in minimalist VU-meets-Suicide fashion, and "Rat King" evinces a punk-rock tendency. While "The Seven Poison Wonders" percolates with a modest R&B beat, "At the Gates," is the sort of full-on, soul-drenched rave-up you might in hear at a late-night basement party.