Apophenia, the debut release from south London four-piece Dave’s Doors of Perception is a swaggering amalgamation of retro garage psych and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll.
The album bursts with energy thanks to pounding rhythms and sidewinding bass lines. The obvious mod influences mean that despite their psychedelic garage rock sound there are sharp, angular phrases on tracks such as ‘White Heat’ and ‘Shake your bones’ and here at least, there is no time for protracted self-indulgent solos. There is barely any let up throughout the album as they race through 12 tracks in just under 39 minutes.
The band’s retro sound is created by the screeching fuzz guitar riffs, deep reverb and a classic transistor organ-heavy whirling accompaniment on a Vox Continental. There are countless reverential moments on Apophenia, from the obvious name checks of their song titles (such as ‘End of the Night‘ and ‘Other Side‘ in homage to their psychedelic forefathers The Doors) while the gravelly snarling vocals earning them an accurate comparison to The Chocolate Watch Band.
Elsewhere their melodies on ‘New Rock ’n’ Roll‘ are distinctly reminiscent of The Seeds or The Yardbirds. Whilst it may be unfair to make this many comparisons rather than allow them space to exist in their own uniqueness, it would be impossible to do so given that they are a mixed-up lovechild of many, albeit successful, psych garage bands of the ’60s.
The only obvious moment of calm in the eye of the Apophenia storm is the track ‘Flickers‘, which is like a warm, melting, heady syrup of lengthy mind bending guitar solos and lyrical references to kaleidoscopic visions of colours and shapes that is much more in the vein of classic stoner psych. The cyclical synth melodies and echoey far-away vocals create a spacey, meditative state, while the pitch bending and distorted notes add to an otherworldly feeling. This moment of introspection comes as a welcome breather after the fast pace of the other tracks on the album.
The tempo is picked back up in ‘Blood Brain Volume‘, while the vocals here are light yet languid and the bass trips along with relaxed effortless just before racing off once again. ‘Dog With a Bone‘ is a dirty garage pounder, and the punchy sneering vocals adds a raw razor edge and a knife in the back of the swirling trance sounds that preceded it.
The album itself hangs together as complete work of cool fuzzy nostalgia, however just as their sound is a collage of retro influences, it feels that the cuts used to create this montage are evident in the stark changes in tone and tempo throughout the album. Whilst broadly fitting under a psychedelic umbrella, the punchy, mod-style vocals on the majority of the album including ‘It was only a dream‘, compared with the lengthy viscous solos on ‘Flickers‘, and trippy sitar sounds on ‘1000 feet‘ are almost at odds with one another. This may have been the band’s intention when naming the album Apophenia which by definition is a “spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena”.
Perhaps an obsession with the past has created this conglomeration of sounds, or the fact that each of the band members have brought their own influences to the table, however the resultant feeling is that Dave’s Doors do not exhibit an individual identity on their debut. This is a shame as the album is certainly successful in creating an exciting, energizing listen and promises a mesmeric live set.
The album is available now on Well Suspect Records.
Words Charlotte Evans