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Gay Acid Julian Marszalek , November 27th, 2015 12:10

As evidenced by the any number of articles carried within the pixilated pages of the Quietus, talk of a Polish music scene as some kind of homogenised mass is disingenuous at best. What is true, however, is that the Poland of recent years has become a fecund breeding ground for creative musical endeavours that have seen all manner of musical genres entered, reinterpreted and created with their own vernacular and agenda.

Adding to this rich mix are Kraków's self-professed trash rockers Kaseciarz with this, their third album. Their previous two full length releases, Surfin' Małopolska and Motörcycle Rock And Roll, where both characterised by an irreverent sense of glee that found the trio pressing the pedal against the metal in a riff powered vehicle devoid of any break pads and thoughts of personal safety. Their opening set at on the Experimental Stage at the 2014 OFF Festival in Katowice still lingers in the memory. A blinding blast of white heat with an attitude to match, this was a combustible set that detonated an already sweltering tent into a heaving, molten mass.

It's fair to say, then, that expectations for new material from the band have been running high and it's a pleasure to report that Kaseciarz have not only delivered the goods but have also grown in stature. Billed as "…the world's first trashy rock opera", this concept album also suggests that Kaseciarz have discovered a new raft of mind expanding stimulants that sees them take their variant of garage influenced rock & roll into more kaleidoscopic territories. And they sound all the better for it.

Opener 'The Sword' sets the template for this tale of a down and out musician in need of fast cash who surrenders to a psychedelic experience under the auspices of a dubious shaman. An elongated intro builds layer upon layer of guitars that gradually and methodically build into a head-nodding groove that proves utterly irresistible. What also becomes apparent very quickly is that, while expanding their sound into something altogether more panoramic, Kaseciarz are equally adept at creating hook-laden melodies that burrow into the brain and remain there long after the event.

It's with 'Many Lives' and 'Shot City' that Kaseciarz show that they've familiarising themselves with elements of SST's back catalogue, most notably Hüsker Dü and Dinosaur Jr as well as more contemporary purveyors of head music such as Wooden Shjips. That said, there's enough of Kaseciarz's own personality stamped all over the album that makes this album to show that they're simply not just in thrall to what moves them.

Somewhat bizarrely for a concept album, singer-guitarist Maciej Nowacki's heavily reverbed vocals are low down in the mix to the degree that they almost become another instrument rather than a narrative tool. Curiously, this works in the album's favour as the dense layers of instrumentation and vocal intonations coalesce into a miasmic whole that's by turns hypnotic and jarring. The 10-minute instrumental, 'Glide', finds Kaseciarz really stretching out and it never feels as if they're wasting your time. Fuzz boxes and wah-wahs are deployed to full effect, a wash of sound that rolls in waves that caress and ultimately sweep away the mind into flashes of multi-coloured dazzles.

Taken on its own terms, Gay Acid is a convincing collection of psychedelic rock & roll worthy of investigation and one that has become the pinnacle of Kaseciarz's expanding catalogue.

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