Psychic Markers are working at pace.
The group's self-titled album emerged earlier this year through Bella Union, but since then they have scarcely stopped.
COVID lockdown may have left band members Leon Dufficy and Steven Dove on opposite sides of the channel, but they simply used this to their benefit.
Crafting song after song, the group played with language, resulting in the bilingual mixtape 'Blue Dreams, or Sucre De La Pastéque'.
Out now, it's a marvellous return, astute in its creativity, playfully melodic, and lyrically dexterous.
Steven Dove from Psychic Markers revealed a few of the non-English language pop gems that have fired their imaginations...
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Lee Hazlewood and Nina Lizell - 'Vem Kan Segla Forutan Vind (I Can Sail Without The Wind)'
I love everything about this song, right from the off. Even the tape hiss adds something. But what really strikes me is the double language thing, Nina Lizell sings this beautiful melody in Swedish and Lee Hazlewood repeats back - spoken in the most magnificent tone - in English. If I could have anybody's voice it would be his.
The arrangement is great too, you have this simple chord progression on a classic Spanish acoustic guitar and then boom, you’re hit by this wave of strings that just lifts you off the ground.
It’s also worth noting the album ‘Cowboy In Sweden’ is the soundtrack to a Swedish film starring Lee, you can find it in various parts on Youtube, it’s kinda this cowboy journey movie, both funny and super weird. It’s perfect!
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La Femme - 'L’hawaienne'
Thankfully this song is eight minutes long. It could be longer. It drifts so delicately along, slowly evolving, it feels like someone has their finger on the feedback knob just gradually turning it clockwise which gives this sort of drowning effect.
I imagine the band playing on a tiny island as it’s slowly sinking and they play on unperturbed. The vocal delivery is so nonchalant and could have quite easily become boring. Sometimes bands like the smell of their own shit and try to wring every last drop of vibe out, not here though, they absolutely nail it.
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Serge Gainsbourg - 'Flash Forward'
I could have chosen any Serge song, there’s too many to mention. I decided to go for one which to me has the perfect production, each instrument sits in its own space while the super close mic’d Serge sings about paranoia and heart palpitations.
I enjoy listening to these songs in headphones and closing my eyes as it feels like he’s about to tap me on the back, it’s that close. He’s a master of onomatopoeia; here he sings about his beating heart, “tick tock tick tock” all the while the kick drum is beating this double heartbeat. When you start to dissect his music it all makes sense, each part represents meaning within the lyrics.
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Elia y Elisabeth - 'Descripcion'
This is just the sweetest dose of Columbian soft psychedelia you’ll ever hear, I can’t knock it. The production has that early 70’s analog stereo sound, similar to the Serge track in that the spread is ace and each instrument has its place allowing the vocals to take centre.
It’s the work of two sisters (Elia and Elisabeth Fleta), who popped up for a brief time only making a couple of records before realising their distaste for the music industry and heading off on different career paths. Their music covers bossanova, tropicalia and psychedelia all packed together nicely with songs rarely making the three minute mark.
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Deux Filles - 'L’intrigue'
The title of this song sums up my love for it, full of intrigue and mystery. The music is so dreamlike it can whisk you away to another place which as it happens is exactly what they wanted.
Deux Filles was a concept band, two former members of The The (Simon Fisher Turner and Colin Lloyd Tucker) performing in drag as Gemini Forque and Claudine Coule against a backdrop of fictional tragedy. The story goes that the two bonded over a shared grief of the death and paralysis of their parents and proceed to run away and disappear in Algiers leaving only music behind.
This story couldn’t be any more fitting to the music… beautifully tragic. Fisher Turner went on to work with Derek Jarman as his composer.
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