There's so much that went into French psychedelic trio Wall of Death's new album Loveland. There's the band itself: Gabriel Matringe, the guitarist and ex-cello player, and Brice Borredon, who grew up in the country in the south of France and who dedicated himself completely to the piano at age 6, and Adam Ghoubali, who taught himself drums after hearing the Doors. Then there's Innovative Leisure's Hanni El Khatib, the genre-smashing guitarist who shares songs with GZA and who'd devote his most ambitious production work yet to Wall of Death. There's the giant stack of vintage equipment'organ, synthesizer, electric piano and a positively luscious Mellotron. There's the live chicken named Chickpea, who guarded the outside of the Jazzcats studio in Long Beach and wouldn't let anyone pet her except Borredon. ('We directly understood and respected each other,' he explains.) And so Loveland became a psychedelic album, but in its own irreproducibly unique way'and not like the usual bled-dry psychedelic albums of 2015, which smear reverb across almost everything and put fuzz on whatever's left. Instead, Loveland is a work of art or even architecture, a castle-slash-cathedral built on catacombs and caverns and secret passages, where the way in is also the way out. Precisely one minute into Loveland, Matringe's vocals suddenly explode into infinity, and then the bottom drops out of the song'and from there, Wall of Death dive into the void. There are no brutish garage ragers here, and no plotless jam sessions, either. Loveland is the definition of a slow-burn, with cinematic pace and limitless space and a mellotron that's practically another member of the band. The idea, says el Khatib, was to make Loveland sound like a dream come true: 'Although I played quite a great deal on this album, I wanted to make sure that first and foremost it sounded like Wall of Death. This wasn't about me trying to put my personal stamp on it, but rather to help my friends make an album they were dreaming about in their heads."
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