Review: Psychocukier - Diamenty
(CD, Nowe Nagrania, 2013)
Is rock’n’roll dead? Every once and then some concerned music journalist will write a lengthy analytic piece of how the rock music idiom got gradually softened and/or replaced with a solo artist who needs little more than a laptop and an Internet connection to achieve success. But at the same time, every one and then a bunch of rock destroyers like Poland’s Psychocukier (translated as “Psychosugar”) will pop out, blow a cloud of smoke in everyone’s faces and say: “Hey, I’m still here, you motherfuckers!”
No, seriously, these guys rock. They don’t only rock, but they are rock. Their sound, their image, their everything - it’s just the epitome of the good ol’ “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll”. They’ve got booze, they’ve got smokes, they’ve got naked chicks rolling with them in beds (check out the photo session they did for Diamenty on the band’s website). They got the rock’n’rollin’ image down to a fuckin’ T, even with the fishnet wifebeaters and Holger Czukay moustaches. And while Diamenty is Psychocukier’s fourth full album, it might very well be also their best.
The first track on the album is usually the most important - this is where the listener begins their journey and where (when) they decide whether it’s worth to continue that journey - and the opening “Mgła” (“Fog”) couldn’t have been a better choice. It’s a churning, motorik blast of badassery, featuring hypnotic bassed accompanied with scorched, stoned guitar. It keeps the perfect groove for three minutes - it’s like everything you might ever expect from good psychedelic rock packed into a pill. It sets the mood perfectly and leaves yearning for more, more, more! The album is steeped in the sort of garage sleaziness that makes the greatest rockstars - there’s a lot of Velvet Underground spirit floating in the air, like opium smoke, with the ghost of Lou Reed watching everything - and approving of what he sees.
The lyrics themselves are equal parts humorous, dark, absurd and sexual - and in Polish, a refreshing (and patriotic) move when many Polish rock bands record in English. Like the lyrics to “Tonę w jeziorach” (“I’m drowning in lakes”), which features some serious “what the fuck did I just hear!?” moments - “I’m drowning in the lakes of your / I’m drowning in the lakes of your eyes / I’m drowning in the lakes of your / I’d like to fuck you your eyes” as an example. The smoky, groovy bass adds a sensual, slightly dangerous on the whole album while the guitar spews forth some of the crispiest and delightfully fuzzy sounds on all songs. Psychocukier are like a bunch of sailors who just came back from a long cruise and have stepped on land to raise hell and fuck bitches - a fact many reviewers pointed out, further supported not only by the rebellious, freewheeling sound, but also by marine-themed song titles, like “Dryfowanie” (“Drifting”), “Żeglarz” (“Sailor”), “Tajemnicza wyspa” (“Mysterious Island”), or “Laguna” (“Lagoon”). Diamenty touches on many moods and styles - there are some nuggets of melodic, indie rock songwriting (like the almost radio-friendly “Zło niesie wiatr”), and on the other side of the spectrum there is frenetic, overblown kraut-noise madness on “Ty”
Surprisingly, the band owes much of its crisp, energetic sound to Mikołaj “Noon” Bugajak, who achieved a legendary status with his hip-hop beats (and his work with such Polish hip-hop lumiaries as Pezet or Grammatik). Noon himself stated that Psychocukier were influential to his own work, so making an album together was just an extension of this influence. Despite coming from different scenes, the four gentlemen felt incredible chemistry and produced an exciting, simple yet ass-kicking album, recording with simple mics and a basic set-up, without resporting to overdubs, digital editing or any sort of polishing to make the sound pristine. Diamenty is a dirty, slightly kinky record that doesn’t give a fuck what other people think and simply has the time of its life. Looks like it’s time to say the truth: Psychocukier are the kings. And all hail the Kings.