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Methyl Ethel: Oh Inhuman Spectacle album review

Yet more classy psych rock from Australia.

Album cover for Methyl Ethel's Oh Inhuman Spectacle

Perth’s one of the world’s most remote cities, so it’s not hard to understand why its bands have recently tended towards a vaguely similar sound. The psychedelic, sun-dappled tones that helped Tame Impala gain global fame have clearly entranced some of their compatriots. Yet 4AD’s latest signings Methyl Ethel offer just as many evocations of early 80s indie psychedelia and late 60s proto-prog as they do their contemporaries. Originally released to great acclaim in Australia last year, Oh Inhuman Spectacle has the reverb-drenched production of a late 60s garage-psych curio, and those aren’t the only hints of that era on show.

Artificial Limb summons Syd Barrett in its acoustic trip-pop, while the floaty Mellotron-ish waves of Also Gesellschaft make for a Lamb-era Genesis feel. More often, though, they channel the lysergic, DIY trippiness of post-punk’s more hippie-ish exponents, as evidenced by the wobbly-voiced noir-rock of Shadowboxing and To Swim. But it’s Jake Webb’s falsetto-flecked voice that give Methyl Ethel’s sound its head-spinning feel, helped by dreamlike lyrical scenarios.

Johnny Sharp
Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock