Servants of psychedelia could well have found hypnotic new masters in the heady Hippie-aged stylings of Birmingham’s Brain Food.
Their alluring 2018 EP “Get One On” brims with acid-licking call-backs to bygone eras of furious experimentation – a five-track release that’s unswervingly brazen in its flirtation with the trademarks of both prog and psych, bringing technical wizardry and cranium-altering riffs together on a set of songs all too accomplished and engaging for a debut collection.
And where such blatant deference to classic alternative tropes can often be grating, the band, key figures of the Birmingham scene, seem very much set to fill the vintage-loving shoes of those other outstanding acts currently flying the psychedelic flag in the bigger leagues. Think Tame Impala, King Gizzard and Thee Oh Sees sharing stories in a scuzzy Midlands bar and you get an idea of the band’s awesome, crystalline charm.
This much is clear as soon as “Two Crows” glides into earshot, ushering in Brain Food’s striking cosmic collage of noise. It’s a deeply-textured ballet that toys with danger, and a daring voyage into anything but a sea of tranquillity. Effects-laden guitars, a recurring theme throughout “Get One On”, recall the sugar-sweet excess of Jimi Hendrix at his unmatchable peak. Restriction and compliance to conventional structures almost completely abandoned.
“Lemon & Lime” continues to run with this arresting overindulgence, its haunting words remaining buried underneath streams of glistening guitars and wandering textures. Mysticism drenched in the wonders of reverb.
Lead single “Mindwinder” sees the band dip briefly into lad-rock, mimicking Kasabian’s, or perhaps, Oasis’, modern treatment of vintage styles. There’s little doubt that the track’s snarling vocals bear an unmistakable similarity to Tom Meighan’s delivery, with thankfully less of the boorishness.
Overdriven closer “Sweet Unknown” combines the woozy calm of the band’s obvious psych influences with the kind of sleaze-ridden, raging rock ‘n’ roll Queens of the Stone Age would be proud of. It’s winding, protracted outro is excessive, sure, but what self-respecting bunch of noise-mongers isn’t prone to occasionally showy displays? One listen to “The White Album” is proof enough of that.
An arresting, soothing, and at times, tempestuous effort then from Birmingham’s finest exponents of challenging, acid-dashed rock. Hungry for some sonic haze? Feed your head with some Brain Food.
Brain Food are a psychedelic rock act from Birmingham. You can listen to “Get One On” below and check out the band’s Facebook page here .