When it comes to sophomore albums there is a hesitant optimism tied closely to your expectations. It is usually a fleeting feeling that is looked back on years later with vague recollection overshadowed by your seasoned opinion of the record.
For Brooklyn’s Prince Rupert’s Drops, I had about as high of expectations as ever for the follow up to their mouthwatering psychedelic release Run Slow. And when I look back on their latest release Climbing Light years from now my expectations will have been laughable.
For the first twelve minutes, eighteen seconds, of the eight-track (number of songs, not nostalgic recording medium) record the Drops dig their hooks into you like the scene from The Matrix when the agents implant Neo with that weird robot worm thing, and they don’t let go. Basically, don’t fight it, let it consume you; let it become a part of you. You’ll be happy you did. “Death March” bursts the seams of expectation and instantly puts to rest any trepidation. Coming in at over eight minutes long I couldn’t help but grin at the rock presence perfected in just the opening track. Followed, without missing a beat, by, in my opinion, the best work Prince Rupert’s Drops has done to date is “Doldrums.” The haunting, multi-layered psychedelic anthem culminates in an almost Doors-esc jam lasting the final third of the track. Throw into the mix the riotous “Dangerous Death Ray” with its pounding rock rhythm and catchy-as-hell lyrics, the strangely addicting “Sesame Seed” that sounds like someone opening an old book while tripping on something and describing it to you in detail, and the drifting sexy acoustic ambience of “Elevation,” and you have everything you could want and then some in a sophomore record.
Climbing Light is as awe-striking as it is addicting. To use the term “perfect” with “psychedelic” seems almost skewed given the style, but I’ll be dammed if this record isn’t as close as you can get to perfect with psychedelic pop/rock. It ultimately becomes a trippy, exploratory journey through your psyche illuminated by a band that knows damn well what they’re doing and they do it damn well. And like Gene Wilder frightening oddball children and their parents on the chocolate river, in some strange Technicolor trip, I love absolutely every minute.
Greg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. His goals in life are to share the good word of good music, ensure Cheez-Its never cease production, and collect Prince Rupert’s Drops on vinyl.