Review: The Sufis – Inventions
Published on July 25th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Unwise as it may be to draw comparisons between albums for no other reason than you happened to have listened to them on the same day, the differences between The Sufis’ second LP Inventions and Johnny Borrell’s solo debut are so stark as to merit mention.
Borrell’s is super polished, meticulously crafted and almost totally devoid of charm. Inventions, on the other hand, is haphazard, ramshackle, virtually free of attention span…and it makes us want to go out in the sunshine and pick wild mushrooms.
Cornershop’s Ample Play label has established itself as a trustworthy production line of brand new psychedelic delights and these Tennessee youngsters are attracting enough attention to be seen as being at the forefront of it.
No pressure, then, and no such burden is evident: Inventions finds The Sufis doing what they do best – that is, tumbling vintage psych with tangential tendencies befitting of its own youthful exuberance – but with an extra added sophistication that they refrain from beating us over the head with.
Not one of these fourteen tracks breaks the three-minute mark, hitting their stride and then quickly making way for the next good idea. This apparent disregard for their own ingenuity may frustrate some but Rocksucker finds it utterly thrilling.
“All of the Time” picks up where their self-titled debut left off by surfing that “Taxman” bass line through sun-soaked fields of lysergic aloofness. Next, The Sufis show off their increased levels of confidence on the bouncy, Ray Davies-esque character portrait of “Most Peculiar Happening Cat”.
Goodness knows who or what is being referred to in lines like “He chronicles the most deserving bands in his head / As if all of the others in this town are dead” but we intend to find out.
The band’s newfound capacity for elegance is demonstrated on “Alone” and “Nothing More to Say”, their burgeoning way with arrangements showing up in the ‘stoned Beach Boys’ breakdown of “I’ll Come to See You” and the ornate application of harpsichord to “Turn Around”, which even goes so far as to throw in a minor chord. There’s a touch of Damon Albarn about the vocal delivery, too.
“No Expression” is like some lost Elephant 6 gem, “Wallflower” a lovably daft stoner jam, while the juddering guitar effect and clapping groove of “Washed Away” combine with drippy, trippy vocals to sound like some kind of melty hallucination.
Top it all off with the breezy skip of “Different Views” and you’ve got yourself a nifty summer soundtrack there, mister. This is the sound of band and label gaining momentum in perfect harmony.
Inventions will be released on August 5th by Ample Play Recordings.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!