On Wax: Curse the Son, Psychache

Nearly two years on from its initial self-issued CD version, Curse the Son‘s Psychache has gotten the release it deserves. In the capable hands of STB Records, the Connecticut trio’s Psychache (review here) has been pressed in three separate editions — a standard of 125 copies in gatefold with tri-color vinyl, an OBI strip edition limited to 100 with clear/black vinyl and a blood red splatter, a die hard edition limited to 75 with both the bone-grey and clear/black vinyl and the splatter, and a test press version — and as ever for the NJ-based imprint, the focus seems to be on reverence. Reverence for the music, for the form and, in this case, for an album that feels a long time in arriving.

From the opening riffs of “Goodbye Henry Anslinger,” Curse the Son‘s weedian roll finds a stylistic match in many other acts in all but quality. Guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore leads the charge with molasses tone — my stereo system never seems to have enough low end; Psychache is cavernous and warrants all it can get — and bassist Richard “Cheech” Weeden and drummer Mike Petrucci (now also of Lord Fowl) enact a stonerly nod that remains one of the best the last couple years have seen. As a reissue, I’m glad to have the chance to experience the album again, but as the first vinyl pressing, I also feel like I’m finally hearing Psychache the way the band intended, with the side split coming after the title-track and before the interlude “Valium For?,” creating a side A comprised of massive, catchy hooks in “Goodbye Henry Anslinger,” “Spider Stole the Weed” and “Psychache” and a side B that immediately delves curse-the-son-psychache-gatefold-leftfurther into the lysergic with “Valium For?” before slipping into the slower “Somatizator” and closing out with “The Negative Ion,” which opens ambient and then explodes into a thunderously plodding finish, Vanacore‘s voice a Sabbathian echo over the doomly churning.

At Stoner Hands of Doom XII in Sept. 2012 (review here), Vanacore handed me a CD in a plastic clamshell case of the mastered version of Psychache. I remember putting it on that night on my way back to where I was staying in Connecticut, and I’ve done the same many late nights since. Also afternoons, and pretty much whenever. This is an album I’ve lived with for two years, and aside from being gratified to see it get its due, I’m glad to have a new form in which to experience it. It’s one thing to know a record has two halves and another to actually have to get up and flip it over. That changes the personality of the listening experience, and after putting Psychache on so many times either with that CD or the digital curse-the-son-psychache-gatefold-rightversion — they’ve intermittently made it available as a free download on Bandcamp — it’s somewhat jarring to have the raucous end of the title-track not give way immediately to “Valium For?,” but it works. The languid shuffle of “Spider Stole the Weed” finds a counterpoint in the more severe declension of “Somatizator,” and “Goodbye Henry Anslinger” and “The Negative Ion” feel even more complementary as the bookends between which the course of the release takes place, the righteous stomp of the closer coming across that much sweeter with the needle returning afterwards, as if there’s nothing more to say.

For some who picked up or who will pick it up, the vinyl version is their first experience of Psychache, and that seems like an advantage, since clearly this is how Curse the Son have wantedcurse-the-son-psychache-back-cover it to be heard all along. From my perspective, I’ll say that there aren’t a lot of records that, two years later, I’m still going to have such appreciation for seeing them show up again — opening the gatefold and seeing the live shot of the band, it looks like a classic — but Psychache was something special that first night I put it on and it remains something special now. My only hope is that, with this out, VanacoreWeeden and Petrucci can get to work on their third album and be able to capitalize on what can only be considered the unmitigated success of Psychache. They remain an underrated band, but obviously the word is spreading, and if you’re fortunate enough to get a copy of the STB vinyl before it’s completely sold out, you’re likely to find it an endeavor worth revisiting.

Curse the Son, “Spider Stole the Weed” official video

Curse the Son on Thee Facebooks

Curse the Son on Bandcamp

STB Records webstore

STB Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

One Response to “On Wax: Curse the Son, Psychache

Leave a Reply