Psychic Temple - Houses Of The Holy 2xLP
Label: Joyful Noise
Release Date: September 25th, 2020
Psychic Temple mastermind Chris Schlarb believes that "there is no double album that would not be improved by removing its worst songs and making it a single album." But with his new 2xLP release, Houses of the Holy, Schlarb sets out to prove himself wrong.
In 2016, Schlarb opened BIG EGO, a commercial recording studio in the same Long Beach neighborhood where he grew up. There he produced everyone from Terry Reid and James Gadson to Swamp Dogg and Jim Keltner. A year later, he began work on Houses of the Holy: his own attempt at solving the double album puzzle.
In the modern history of rock music, the double album stands as the ultimate creative indulgence, a moment for an artist to make their grand statement amid the excess of four sides of vinyl. And yet, there is not one double LP that escapes the curse of filler: "Wah-Wah" on George Harrison's All Things Must Pass; "Night Flight" on Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti; "Piggies" on The Beatles' White Album; "Angel" on Fleetwood Mac's Tusk.
Schlarb's solution: take four existing bands and lead them into the realm of Psychic Temple. Side A, recorded in the Joshua Tree desert with Cherry Glazerr, is five whiskey-fueled songs of love, madness, and suicide. Side B delivers the legendary Chicago Underground Trio, reunited after nearly 20 years, who wrap their unmistakable sound around songs written by Schlarb, Jerry David DeCicca and James Jackson Toth.
On the precipice of entering their fourth decade as one the world's great rock bands, The Dream Syndicate explode when plugged into the Psychic Temple Universe, evidenced on Side C. Side D is a euphoric closer, featuring the words of cosmic street poet Xololanxinxo, supported by the album's largest ensemble: full orchestra, double rhythm section, and gospel choir.
To hear Schlarb tell it, these four sides are the only Houses of the Holy that one ever need visit.