This is Not a Psych-Rock Record is the second release and debut full length album (LP) by Chicago based primitive psych-pop, grungegaze band, Animal Holograms . Due to be released on Chicago indie record label, Monoblack Records on July 5th, 2016, the record is a drastic departure their seminal effort, Phantasmagoric Menagerie. The songs utilize re-sampled drums which are used to create electronic, post industrial influenced beats supporting acoustic guitars and dark, distant vocals.
Song Titles and Lyrics Edit
Every song title on the record except for the first and last are questions and the lyrics do not appear to provide any sort of satisfying answers. The first song is titled, 'A Familiar History' and the last is titled, 'Strange Futures'. Clearly toying with the idea of opposites, the two songs also reflect one another lyrically. The middle nine songs are titled by peculiar questions like 'How Long is a Colorado Winder?' and 'Where in Heaven is Mother Mary?'. Other titles like 'What Have I Done?' and 'Who Can Say?' suggest that Williams has perhaps deeper, moral and teleological issues which he struggles with and sorts out through his songwriting. The fact that the record also begins and ends with certainties while for the majority of the album it deals with uncertainties, alludes to an overall metaphor for life itself--beginning with birth, ending in death and in the middle a series of interesting albeit difficult unknowns. If the songs are a reflection of the album as a whole, then perhaps Williams is making a larger statement with the album title and comparing the certainty of genre to the certainty of birth and death.
Concepts and Themes Edit
Vague though his lyrics may be, Williams seems to generally linger on ideas about mortality, frustrations and fears of aging and potentially developing mental illnesses or losing his perspective as time goes on. Imagery of burning in fire, drowning in water, the act of man killing man, the concept of rebirth, cycles, the numinous experience, and psychological detachment from reality pervade his lyrics, these concepts recurring often from song to song. The title of the record seems to be a direct reaction to the experience of being pigeon holed by genre/musical styles, although it also challenges the listener to question genres and what one or another genre label is actually communicating.
Album Cover Art Edit
The cover art is a digitally manipulated image of Chicago and the Lake Michigan water front photographed from a helicopter at night. The recognizable structures, both geographical and architectural were distorted, copied and pasted back into the image multiple times to form a cluster of buildings which were manipulated in various ways until finally the image of Chicago is barely, if at all, recognizable and looks more like an alien terrain on a fictional planet or an abstract collage of organic structures fused with linear web like structures. The artwork potentially reflects the album title's implied meaning insofar as a thing free from categorization, like a clear image of Chicago at night, can be transformed and mutated into something entirely else by the manipulative nature of linguistic intent, or in the case of the photograph, the manipulative nature of intentional design originating with a non-blank canvas, but rather a canvas containing a clear and distinct image. The distortion of the image becomes something else and is removed from its meaningful context as a cityscape, allowing it the potential to represent anything a mind desires, in this case, an album cover.
The teaser artwork originally released is an image of the bathroom mirror in the apartment where the record was demoed (as well as where 'Phantasmagoric Menagerie' was mixed and mastered). In this context the album art was intended to mock the famous surrealist painting by René Magritte, 'The Treachery of Images' depicting the image of a pipe with the words "Ceci n'est pas une pipe." written beneath it. The concept is a bit of a mixed metaphor as the artwork doesn't depict the image of "a psych-rock record", though it does depict the image of a mirror which records in real-time the images or forms which are placed in front of it. In a sense the album title is an object, in this case a statement, placed in front of the mirror, creating a fuzzy contradition, which can be compared to the effect genre labeling has on the music it attempts to describe or categorize. While useful and real, the process of generalizing and categorizing things into self-same groups robs the things themselves of their distinct nature relative to all other things described by the same label and therefore drawing comparison to by way of things in common, versus highlighting the ways in which the very same things being compared are entirely unique and distinct from one another.
- Swallowed Whole by the Strange Attractor (intro)
- Eschaton on the Television
- Evil Dream Repeater
- Walking Through Mirrors
- Filles de Joie in the Sky
- Sea Foam Memory
- A Sharp on the Lam
- Arctic Relics
- Oh, How They Dance After the Kill (live improvisation)
- Liars on Fire (experimental recording)
- Fevers and Fears (screwed up and rough demo)
- Pylons (Rough demo)
- Springtides Eaten Up by the Star
- Death Dancing Romance
- Naked in the Water
- Bandcamp: