Having initially teamed up a year ago to release The Reverb Conspiracy - Volume One, it's appropriate that London's Fuzz Club Records and Texas imprint The Reverberation Appreciation Society would collaborate once more almost 12 months to the day. As with its predecessor, The Reverb Conspiracy - Volume Two showcases 16 of the psych rock scene's most enterprising and emerging new talents. Featuring artwork from Nonni Dead of Iceland's Dead Skeletons (who also contributed the artwork to ...Volume One), ...Volume Two comes packaged as a limited edition double white vinyl pressing complete with ornate gatefold sleeve, making it an enticing proposition for any potential buyer. And that's before any notable scrutiny of the music contained within.
Not that The Reverb Conspiracy - Volume Two disappoints in any way, shape or form. In similar fashion to the first installment, its compilers have put together an assortment of (mostly) hidden gems encapsulating the best of this year's new breed of psychedelic movers and shakers. With such a diverse range of sounds and styles to choose from, all gathering disparately under the psych umbrella, ...Volume Two veers left of centre when least expected, often to the point of no return. Indeed, it's to the credit of those responsible for not sticking to the norm, instead preferring to highlight some of the more obtusely referenced acts currently flying the flag for psychedelic rock.
Stockholm-based four-piece The Janitors may have been relatively unknown over here until recently. However, their two slots at last month's Reverb Conspiracy weekender - the second as Damo Suzuki's backing band - brought them to the attention of a whole new audience. Which is refreshing in itself as their second long player Drone Head, released earlier this summer on Cardinal Fuzz Records, just happens to be one of 2013's finest. The distortion heavy sonic assault of 'MSSG', lifted from said record, providing a perfect introduction to both band and ...Volume Two.
Italian combo Sonic Jesus, already renowned for their contribution to the first Reverb Conspiracy compilation, return with the excellent 'Reich', which re-imagines Black Sabbath as a trippier, spaced out entity. Sydney's Dark Bells may now reside in London, but their epic folk-inspired 'Wildflower' fuses louche melodies with the occasional prog styling not a million miles away from fellow countrymen Tame Impala. Meanwhile Acid Baby Jazz update the Byrds jangly template with outstanding results on the hypnotic 'Mesmerized'.
Elsewhere, krautrock is represented courtesy of The Time And Space Machine ('Black Rainbow'), Giobia ('Orange Camel') and Big Naturals ('Krautpunk') respectively. The west coast via Creation Records template orchestrated by a million and one bands in thrall to the Brian Jonestown Massacre also rears its head on more than one occasion, Berlin's The Vagabond Stories and London's Desert Mountain Tribe proving the pick of that particular bunch.
It's left to the post-punk infused shoegaze of Londoners Whistlejacket, experimental jazz rock of Copenhagen's Pinkunoizu and b-movie punkadelia of Nottingham's Cult Of Dom Keller to exemplify what a weird and wonderful collection The Reverb Conspiracy - Volume Two (not to mention the psych rock scene itself) happens to be. Long may it continue to defy convention.
8Dom Gourlay's Score