Sacred Shrines Rock Solid In Psychedelic Debut
When you started a band with your mates, was your second ever live gig in support of 90s legends The Dandy Warhols? No? Oh well, then you mustn’t be a member of Brisbane psych outfit Sacred Shrines. Thats right! On only their second time on stage, the outfit were kicking off the night for the band that dropped hits like Bohemian Like You and We Used To Be Friends.
Now, to solidify their place in the Australian music scene, Sacred Shrines have dropped their debut album, ‘Come Down From The Mountain’. Getting the mix down treatment from some pretty solid names, like Brett Orrison, who was behind The Black Angels, and Liam Judson who mixed for Cloud Control, Sacred Shrines debut effort is a solid blend of psychedelia and punk that throws back to more than one time in rock music.
The opening track is the titular Come Down From The Mountain which sets the tone for the album with the sounds of 60’s psychedelia that has been mixed nicely with some post-punk elements and modern shine. Organs, fuzzy guitars, and a fine smattering of vocal harmonies and the occasional “Ooooh” combine to create a swirling, thick, layered sound.
The mix sounds a lot more dark and sinister, with echoing bass, shrieking guitar and powerful tom-filled drumming. Add to that vocal lines that border on a muted shout, and you have a very dense sound pumping into your ears.
Pretty Thing takes a turn towards a more modern psych sound that would be at home on a release from The Murloccs, a band that Sacred Shrines have shared the stage with previously. The mix sounds a lot more dark and sinister, with echoing bass, shrieking guitar and powerful tom-filled drumming. Add to that vocal lines that border on a muted shout, and you have a very dense sound pumping into your ears.
Following on from the intensely dense and hard hitting Pretty Thing, third track Lights Turn Green is a tension release. Majority of this short, 2:30 track is just piano accompanied by distorted vocals and some subtle guitar and synthesiser. Then its back on the loud train with Curious Chemistry and its handclaps, jangling guitar and more of the melody making organ. This continues with Perfect Dream, which is stacked with some ripping guitar work on top of the already dense blueprint that the album has established.
Apollo harks back to the darker tones of Pretty Thing with its sinister sounding guitar work and bassy mix. Towards the end of the track, the instrumentation breaks down into a all out assault, with effects, volume levels and tempos going everywhere and swirling into your brain. This breakdown comes after a slow build up throughout the entirety of the song that starts off fairly slow and steady.
Think of a sober Dune Rats and a harder sounding Oasis, and then split the difference between the two to arrive at a somewhat suitable description for that track.
Hung Up On Your Wall will throw you back to sound like something cut from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, with its sitar, chiming guitars and rewound opening chords. Tambourines backing vocals, and a heavy dose of other syncopated percussion creates a layered texture harking back to classic 60’s psychedelic sounds.
Lead single from the album, Collision is a rollicking punky song that blends some lo-fi guitar work with some clean vocals and a simple but hard hitting bass riff. Think of a sober Dune Rats and a harder sounding Oasis, and then split the difference between the two to arrive at a somewhat suitable description for that track.
The penultimate track The Badge and The Gun blends the punkier elements of the album with the psychedelic sounds to create a quite a mindbendingly rockish sound. The intense and blistering guitar solo makes a welcome comeback towards the end of the track in the finals bars. Final track Blocking Out The Sun dials the rocking back two tones to be a rolling, chugging, and powerful song with a strong rhythmic emphasis.
‘Come Down From The Mountain’ has a lot going on. There’s definitely a throwback to very old psychedelia that would fit in nicely in the late 60s or early 70s, but that’s blended well with some punchy punk elements that give many of the tracks a lot of drive. Sprinkle in a touch of 90s alt and pop rock, and you’ll understand where this album draws its musical inspiration. If swirling guitars, punctuated with a driving rhythm section sound like your forte, then this album will be right up your alley. And you can easily see why the Dandy Warhols were so enamoured with this new outfit.
Listen to The Badge and The Gun, and check out Sacred Shrine’s live dates, below!
Sacred Shrines “Collisions” Single Launch Tour
FRI 9 SEP
Currumbin Creek Tavern