Skommel is the debut album from Queens, NY's Imaginary Tricks. Building upon a lifelong affair with guitar noise and love for buttery R&B classics, these songs are reflections of psych-tinged rock and pop obsessions, abused by years of a relentless search for something stranger, stronger, and free. Imaginary Tricks takes an experimental approach to delivering a familiar thump. It's a heartbeat, with multiple layers of complex sounds, mired in soul and hidden lyrical depth. Welcome to the world of Mike Visser, the world of Imaginary Tricks.
The songs on Skommel are poignant and varied, from the surefire pop hit of "Night Owl," which captures the universal feeling of staying up at night, worrying yourself to bits. And there's the rugged and rhythmic "Lights Out," addressing the distribution of wealth in the Western world. And in the disarming "No Ordinary Guy," Visser details his father's immigration from South Africa to the United States. Listen closely, and you're inside the room with him, in the eye of a storm, whipped up by whatever inclination strikes: whistles and wah-wahs, Doppler-effect vocals and alien Wurlitzer keyboarding. The results are intoxicating.
Much of Skommel was drafted and recorded at Japam Studio in Brooklyn. Conjuring up a romantic picture of a dank and dark place where the songs were pounded out night after night until they took shape would be a cool notion. But Imaginary Tricks songs are written in Visser's head – one can only imagine what goes on in there – and then sketched out here, in the real world, for us to hear. Can colors, thoughts, dreams and sideways conversations be translated into words and music? After listening to Skommel, it just might seem possible.