, July 23rd, 2012 10:07
Now here’s a thing: the moment you think you’ve got The Sufis pinned down, the slippery buggers take a sharp detour into yet another psychedelic wormhole. For sure, the opening trio of ‘Where Did She Go’, ‘Sri Sai Flora’ and ‘Wake Up’ will have those who favour paisley shirts and Cuban heels nodding their fringes knowingly, as they reach for the bong and lava lamp - for these are tracks that unashamedly tip their Lenin caps to The Beatles of ’66 and the Pink Floyd of Piper At The Gates Of Dawn vintage. But then things start getting a little, uh, weird…
Hailing from East Tennessee – a part of the world that seems to have bought into Timothy Leary’s idea of putting LSD into the water supply, judging by the volume of psych and garage rock emanating from its locale – The Sufis are Calvin Laporte, Jay Smith and Evan Smith, and while the halcyon days of swinging London’s UFO club, the Alexandra Palace’s Technicolour Dream and Roundhouse all-nighters are the starting-off point, the trio offers so much more to open your head with.
As evidenced by the wigged out journeys into inner space that are ‘Downtrace’ and the plain cosmic – or should that be kosmische? - ‘Lemming Circle Dance’, The Sufis gleefully take a few cues from Can’s more pulsating grooves. Also firmly in place is a cornucopia of treated organs, tremeloed vocals, flutes, string scrapes and any number of effects designed to be as far away from the 21st century as possible. Or, for that matter, anything resembling sanity.
Of course, it’d be easy to dismiss The Sufis as little more than shameless copyists with little interest in the here and now, but this is to do them a grave disservice. Psychedelia’s always been about subverting the norm to gain a greater insight into the wider truths that are out there, and in this respect The Sufis succeed with aplomb. It’s also a testament to the enduring appeal of rock & roll and the fact that, despite the whinging of naysayers forever attempting to shovel the dirt on the grave of the genre, it’ll never die.
Though this debut may be struggle to convert believers outside the existing circle of disciples, there remains enough evidence that what they do next should create some seismic and significant rumbles.