The Things drop a mind-bending dose of amped-up psychedelic rock straight into the sweet spot of your cerebellum with their tripped-out album Vicarious Catharsis — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
With 10 righteous, riotous tracks of blast-from-the-past energy and eccentricity, the L.A. rockers’ dynamic, dynamite debut is the perfect antidote for anyone suffering from a severe case of rock ’n’ roll withdrawal. Because this shaggy sucker most definitely rocks AND rolls. But it doesn’t stop there. It also shucks and jives. It stands and delivers. It gets high as a kite and gets down on the good foot. It struts its stuff and stretches its legs. It fires up the bong and hoists the freak flag. And it does all that via a solid-sender slate of gritty guitars, groovy backbeats, funky horns and jazzy pianos — with nary a computer chip, cliche or contrived moment of plasticized pop in the magnificent multi-dimensional mix.
Make no mistake: These guys don’t just play rock ’n’ roll, they live it. All of The Things’ musicians live together in the bohemian artist community at The Skipper Room, a custom-built, full analog studio, where they spend every waking moment focused on their creativity. You can hear their commitment in their freewheeling interplay and kaleidoscopic chemistry that define the album. Channeling the energy and abandon of rock’s ’60s and ’70s halcyon days, these one-take live-to-tape recordings come with raw, saturated edges, burning hard and fast and bright as the band fuse sounds and styles from all directions with the ragged, rugged intensity of their take-no-prisoners, pull-no-punches performance style.
“Performing live is a transcendent experience for me,” explains singer-guitarist Lukas Neufeld. “It’s why I play music, and why I named the album Vicarious Catharsis, because it’s catharsis for us as musicians and also the audience. What the audience feels, we feel, and what we feel, we feed it through the audience. It’s symbiotic. Humans require a physical avenue to express themselves fiercely, authentically, and unapologetically. It’s a liberating and primal experience.”
Neufeld works the front and centre of their massive sound, matching his instinctive approach with his passion for electronics. Otherworldly, abstract noises wail from his pedal board while the mad scientist casts musical spells through his Theremin. Behind him, drummer Matty “Moose” Pert brings a holy grail tone in his fat, thumpy snare — a sound shot straight out of vintage vinyl grooves — while bassist and producer Justice Joslin holds down the bottom end and dedicated woodwind player Adam Saxxy soars above with flute, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. Guitarist and secret weapon Oscar Bugarin is a phenom who brings a pedigree of inventive riffs and atmospheric fretwork to the table, creating a transcendent guitar-hero dialogue with Neufeld. The enigmatic vocal tones floating through the tracks showcase the unique talents of vocalist Eohn Selujèn.
When they’re firing on all cylinders — which is pretty much all the time — The Things unapologetically deliver unpredictable music that seamlessly blurs the lines between a myriad of sounds, styles and influences. From the hard-hitting punch of classic rock and psychedelia down the ladder to funk, soul, jazz, blues and more, anything and everything goes. And goes down good.
Listen to Vicarious Catharsis below and follow The Things on Instagram.