Saturday, May 29, 2021

Stanley Duke’s Psychedelic Sonata

Following on from their first single 'CollagenStanley Duke and the Kindred Spirits are back with their debut EP: ‘Isolation Tarot’.

The Cornish psychedelic rock group released their last single back in 2019, entitled ‘Isolation’, which caught the attention of many psych-rock fans. It was an interesting take on a genre that is flourishing in the alternative scene, but Stanley Duke and the Kindred Spirits clearly have more to offer.

‘Isolation Tarot’ retains Stanley Duke and the Kindred Spirits’ trademark dreamlike instrumentation and vocals, while delving into hard rock territory with ‘King of Pentacles’. 

On ‘The Hanged Man’, the EP opens with a birdsong – perhaps a throwback to ‘Animals’ by Pink Floyd? Stanley Duke’s list of quality influences are incalculable.  The Hanged Man’ has a pop-like song structure and sound, but retains a faint ominous vibe to keep things interesting. The dark lyrics are a great contrast to the upbeat, yet somewhat wistful instrumentals.

Stanley Duke and the Kindred Spirits make it clear early on that they’re not here to make simple, happy music. They want to incur a range of emotions through their art in a concise and imaginative way.

‘Temperance’ is a wonderful psych-funk piece with a catchy, sporadic beat. It’s a strange fusion of reggae, funk and synth-pop that blends together to create a peculiar, unique sound.

‘King of Pentacles’ is the hard-hitting centrepiece of ‘Isolation Tarot’. The track begins somewhat quietly, before exploding into a heavy hard rock riff. The flow of the guitar is erratic, retaining the psychedelic feel of ‘Isolation Tarot’. It’s the best song on the EP and is certainly the most impactful. While they all bring something to the table, ‘King of Pentacles’ is one song that will remain in your memory for some time.

‘The Lovers’ is a tune of pure psychedelia. It’s a song that seems to evolve as it progresses. Stanley Duke and the Kindred Spirits try to accomplish a lot in ‘The Lovers’, perhaps too much. However, it’s very ambitious and is still an endlessly fun listen.

‘Death’ is another catchy, bluesy piece that appears to take cues from 1970s Rock ‘n’ Roll in its bombastic delivery. Despite its morbid title, ‘Death’ may be the most upbeat song on ‘Isolation Tarot’.

'Isolation Tarot’ is a trippy, exciting journey that blends both old and new concepts to create something genuinely special. Psychedelic rock has been the cornerstone of the alternative genres since the 1960s and it’s still going strong. Stanley Duke’s latest release is both a testament and a heartfelt tribute to this fact. 

Jimmy Johnson

Image: Stanley Duke and the Kindred Spirits Isolation Tarot Official EP Artwork

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