Get in on this tripped up Chilean love-in with Sacred Bones' recent discovery, The Holydrug Couple and their night happening musical document, Noctuary. Based in Santiago, members Ives Sepúlveda and Manuel Parra are shape shifters of styles ripped from 90s-60s revivalism, to 80s-60s revivalisms, but screw the decade mixing and word mincing as those abundant explosion of gifts from psyched 60s that translated into the AM dial of the early 70s are part of their sound’s secret pact, as a labor of concept-album-love constructions.
“Counting Sailboats” pushes ships off the flattened ancient ends of the world with an ocean-breaking coasting guitar ripper. And just in case “Sailboats” took you too far adrift, the classic conceptual velvet curtains are officially drawn with “Sailor”, giving entrance into the world of Noctuary with an orchestral-million dollar studio arrangement (and be sure to stay for the band’s dolphin like babble at the end). “Follow Your Way” is ripped out of the great 70s Todd Rundgren arrangement playbook that gives hopped up power pop the serious singer-songwriter smooth organ soft-shoe. And while this reviewer is not one to play too deep into the comparative allusory language, but “Follow” is a recreated deconstruction of “Hello It’s Me” that pays homage to that era in between the late 60s Nazz-Todd and the ubiquitous early 70s solo-Todd versions, yelling for you to “get too far”. “Out of Sight” is a guitar sludge drive to places out of sight with a stoned, late night to early morning drift that finds vocal echoes that turn the track into a screeching churn of metallic resin.
There are many times where Ives and Manuel take full command of the songs like ministers of their own holy love rituals. “Red Moon” bursts with that familiar guitar squall of tin while the effect of rhythm guitars burn like exhausts of amp exhaled inscensors. One gets the feeling that the Santiago twosome built many songs from jam sessions later tightened up, like wanderlust guitar effects on “Wonder” that move like Technicolor oils. At other times, Sepúlveda and Parra are centered on teasing out as many different electric string tones as possible like on “Willoweed”. “Paisley” finds a little underground of its own inhabited dwelling, as a Sunday-day-in-the-park instrumental. A brief organ and guitar interlude rises with the thought bubbles of “Wondered” before the Couple leaves you with a brand new day in the gentle sun of “It’s Risen”, where the two invite all to join their Holydrug psych religion with the, “come to faith…” come down, turn on and turn up.
The cynical critic could write off the accomplished revivalist emulations on Noctuary and make a done to death trajectory about originality in the rock and roll paradigm of past and present. A more generative line of inquiry might allude suspicion toward the moments where Holydrug Couple veers closer to recreating the sounds of their labelmates, not that we are opposed to the idea of two psych seeking Moon Duo[s], but era obsessed purists will find the heavier modern guitar progressions throwing them out of the nostalgia trip [one should also note the early 90s Butch Vig production cadences on “Counting Sailboats”,“Out of Sight”, “Wonder”]. But the judgment here is not one made in trite comparisons and originality debate quips, but how willing the listener is to unplug the mind from the noise of today’s current musical conventions and how deep they are willing to travel into the thick night of Noctuary’s cache of almost limitless authentic vintage re-creations .