When the underground psychedelic scene seemingly branched into the mainstream in the 60s, it was the beginning of the end for the sound.
Or was it?
Brooklyn’s Prince Rupert’s Drops debut album Run Slow aims at proving the hugely influential genre didn’t meet its demise, it simply retreated back into the dark, warm confines of the underground.
The eight track record, released on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records, is the equivalent to opening a dusty chest in the back of your dad’s closet and finding a masterpiece hidden in darkness for decades. Run Slow harnesses the simplistic, yet abstract, visions of yesteryear with delightful precision. At least as precise as a Technicolor jam-session could be.
Boldly baptizing you in their style, Prince Rupert’s Drops opens up the book with the seven-and-a-half minute “Lungs.” Simple picking, transitioning into an easy riff eases the album into your mind. Setting the pace, the track offers us the light, refreshing vocals of Leslie Stein. Stein’s folky presence dances beautifully through Bruno Meyrick-Jones’ guitar work, Steve McGuirl’s percussion and Chad Laird’s bass. That is until about three minutes in when the track begins to take on a more acid-rock/psychedelic vision. Once you hit this point in “Lungs” resistance is futile. These New Yorkers have their hooks in you and won’t let go.
The record slides easily through “Almond Man” (featuring founding member of Drops/Interpol touring bassist Brad Truax) then on to “The Fortress.” Both tracks, great in their own right, combine for just over five minutes in length. The reason I point this out is that the band can’t seem to go more than two tracks before they launch into another addicting psychedelic jam; the next coming in the form of the fiercely addicting “Plague Ride.” Through the psycha-billy swagger dance of “Like a Knife” you can’t help but feel we’ve got another lengthy jam in store.
And you’d be right.
The final track on the album, coming in at just over nine minutes, is the title track. The raunchy riffed song would please even the patrons of the Marquee, Countdown Club or All Saint’s Hall. The ode-to-vintage track would settle nicely into the lengthy ninety minute sets made famous by Barrett and crew all those years ago.
If Prince Rupert’s Drops’ Run Slow is simply a one-off moment in time, allowing us to get a glimpse into what was, what is and what could be or if it is the beginning of something great, I don’t know for certain. What I do know is Run Slow is a must have addition to anyone who listened to, listens to or appreciates the psychedelic era. The Brooklyn band’s sound is more than merely another garage sound, they are in a class all their own and are worth clinging to.