Picture yourself in a club on the corner, where sleepy-eyed patrons wear psychedelic ties. The tunes from the jukebox remind you of country, but could also have come from an Indian raga, hypnotically droning and dark in your ears. Most of the vocals are slow and sweet sadness, with melancholy musings on loves lost and found, fate and philosophy. Before you know it, you’ve sunk in your chair, you’ve forgotten the door and where you were before, till the house lights come up and it’s time to go home. Welcome to Chez Satyrs.
A little bit country, a fair bit psychedelic, with some of that ’60s inner searching and fascination with Indian drones, the Satyrs really hit the spot if you’ve been missing the Doors lately. The opening track, “This Song is Blue,” is one of the best, with its tambourines and ringing fuzzy guitars, drum and slow bass, synth and understated male vocals. The feel is equal parts of the band Morphine’s dark smokiness and an Indian drone-tranciness, real slow and smooth, and lyrics about the black fire that makes us all insane. “Fate and the Golden Wand” is also pretty nice, leaning more heavily on psychedelic synth as the singer promises us that “we will become the things that we’ve done.” “With No Light” has a bit of a Mexican feel in the guitar and percussion, with trippy words about the place you can go inside yourself and the sun that won’t shine without light.
Really, the only track I don’t like is “One Philosophy,” because the heavily country-influenced pedal steel guitar grates on me after a while. But bonus points to the band for closing with “Tribute to the Great Joseph Carey Merrick,” a solo piano piece that could hold its own in a classical concert hall, heavy with the absence that inspired the song.
Black Dog Records, Route 1, Box 163A, Monticello, MS 39654; http://www.blackdogrecords.com