Dragontears Offer Psychedelic Sagery with Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!!

The populous Danish outfit Dragontears specialize in a brand of heavy psychedelic pop that you simply don’t find in the American scene. Not only is the group’s third album, Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!! (Bad Afro), blissed out and loaded with all the synth swirls, backing vocals, electric tones and whathaveyou that you can handle, it’s also undeniably pop-driven, with at least the first several of its total six tracks boasting catchy classic psych choruses that, the more you hear them, the more you want to hear them again. Fans of heavy Europsych will recognize fronting figure Lorenzo Woodrose from the long-running and still very much active Baby Woodrose, and Dragontears also boasts members of On Trial… and probably five other bands. Hey, there are eight people. It’s bound to happen.

Joining Woodrose, who handles bass, guitar, drums and organ (it’s a rotating cast, and given the fact that no one seems to do just one thing, one gets the impression that whoever picks up whatever instrument and makes noise with it gets to handle it for that song or given period of time), are The Hobbit, Ralph A. Rjeily, Anders “Evil Jebus” Onsberg, Moody Guru, Fuzz Daddy, Lars Von Lundholm, Emma Acs, Sebastian Winther and The Adam. If the personnel doesn’t say it enough, Dragontears is more of a collective of friends built around Woodrose and a couple other core contributors than a band with a set lineup composing songs. The approach is dangerous, as it could lead to uneven songwriting and an incongruous flow that could be the undoing of an album like Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!!, but with Woodrose’s vocals as the element most up-front, Dragontears avoids any such issues. The album’s flow is linear, despite the break into farther-out space territory with “Time of No Time” four tracks in, and moves easily, especially in the latter half, where druggy hypnosis takes hold and the psychedelic haze seems to float one song to the next.

Before that, however, the strongly pop-minded opening duo of “Two Tongue Talk” and “No Salvation” offer The Doors via Superjudge-era Monster Magnet space rock. The opener is catchy and crusty in equal measure, centered around guitar über-fuzz and Woodrose’s frequent-flier vocal delivery, and “No Salvation” finds him casting sub-Buddhist heresies like “Ain’t no savior gonna set you free” and “Dispose of your possessions/You’ve got to love yourself for who you are,” that are no less memorable for their familiarity. “My Friend,” track three, is acoustic led (with plenty of effects behind) and gives a spaced-out Neil Young vibe, pushing Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!! into new territory as an effective setup for “Time of No Time” – which is not to be confused with the title of Dutch band The Devil’s Blood’s most recent full-length, The Time of No Time Evermore, with which it bears almost no sonic similarity despite some female vocals.

At nearly twice the length (6:11 as opposed to the 3:32 “My Friend”) of the track preceding, “Time of No Time” is clearly meant to signal a change in approach, and as it’s the beginning of a kind of trilogy of tracks with “William” and the closing “Mennesketvilling” that follow, it’s a turn appropriately placed. There’s still basically a chorus to “Time of No Time,” but it’s clearly moving away from that kind of structure, driving toward more open psychedelia. Layers of guitar and percussion support Woodrose and watery backup vocals, leading to a mid-‘60s fuzz guitar solo and dreamy incantation of the title line before fading to percussion and leading silently into “William,” dedicated to the psychedelic artist William Skotte Olsen, which is 13-plus minutes of tripping verse after verse over ambient space noise, steady bass and percussion and lysergic vibing. Unlike the prior four cuts on Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!!, “William” has Danish lyrics (as does the sixth track), and though one might expect its drifting headiness to be a slow build toward a heavier apex à la Monster Magnet’s Spine of God, the song just doesn’t have that kind of pointedness. The tight construction of “Two Tongue Talk” is long gone, and you can either let yourself go and be hypnotized by “William” or get frustrated and skip it. I find the former to be the more satisfying experience.

“William” leads directly into “Mennesketvilling,” which closes Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!! in atmospheric fashion. If you’ve got your candles lit while listening, “Mennesketvilling” is for the part when they’re almost burnt out and you start to realize that sooner or later you’re going to have to turn the lights back on. In many ways it’s even less structured than “William,” but because it’s 5:49 instead of 13:16 and seems to pick up in the middle when Woodrose comes in on vocals, it comes off as more straightforward. Don’t be fooled. Dragontears, who purport this to be their last record, are on a trip through the cosmos in a 1969 Thisorthat and they want you to come along for the ride. They lure you in with psych-pop candy – the first one’s always free – and next thing you know you’re losing brain cells by the dozen. Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!! doesn’t do much to reinvent the psychedelic or space genres, but it does strongly present the given characteristics in an individual way, and Woodrose shows himself to be a versatile and talented vocalist capable even of reeling in something as expanded-mind as the music behind him. Dragontears will simply be too much for some listeners, but for the long-inducted members in the cult of classic acid rock, Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!! will no doubt be taken as sound advice.

Dragontears on MySpace

Bad Afro Records

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3 Responses to “Dragontears Offer Psychedelic Sagery with Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!!

  1. Wow–this is great stuff!

  2. Hans says:

    And as a special treat the first 500 copies of the vinyl version include a 7″ with two additional tracks: “Astral Flash” b/w “Space Fuck”!

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