Psychic Ills Inner Journey Out on Limited Edition 2LP
The seekers in New York City's Psychic Ills have spent more than a decade following their muse wherever it takes them. Inner Journey Out, the band's highly anticipated fifth album and first since 2013, is indeed an odyssey, traversing the psych-rock landscape they've carved throughout their career and taking inspired pilgrimages into country, blues, gospel, and jazz. Tracked in New York and mixed primarily by Thom Monahan in California, Inner Journey Out is the culmination of three years of writing.
Inner Journey Out started out the way many Ills records have – with frontman Tres Warren's demos. As on their previous records, Elizabeth Hart's bass is the glue that holds everything together. However, this is the first record to feature touring keyboard player Brent Cordero, his Farfisa and Wurlitzer work is a staple throughout. Rounding things out, drummer Chris Millstein handles the majority of the work behind the kit as this team builds the frame on which Warren lays his hazy guitar and vocals.
Where other recent albums found him overdubbing himself to create a blown-out, widescreen sound, this recording handed the reigns to a multitude of guest players. A cadre of musicians and vocalists – including Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval, who duets on "I Don't Mind" – join in on the journey. An endless array of friends and guests also provide pedal steel guitar, horns, strings, and backing vocals, which culminate in a career-defining moment for the Ills.
Thematically, Inner Journey Out is a detailed exploration of the interior and the exterior, and the pathway between the two. The focused songwriting makes the stylistic departures fit seamlessly within the band's dexterous ethos. The rousing gospel number "Another Change" and the far-out free jazz exploration "Ra Wah Wah" serve the greater whole, and make Inner Journey Out a full album experience. It's the most personal Psychic Ills album, too, hinting tantalizingly at love and loss but denying the listener resolution – asking questions, but never answering; seeking, but never fully concluding.