Album Review: a/lpaca – ‘Make It Better’.

Organ oscillations, psyche-fuzz and Krautrock machinations, messed up rhythm repetitions and psychotropic sounds, this a feast of freak free-form exuberance. The fact that this lands as a/lpaca’s debut album makes this crude retro trip more impressive. And if NEU, Can, Thee Oh Sees, and Moon Landingz get you high, then sit back and breathe in and keep reading.

Make It Better’s a spitball of noise. There’s feedback, vocoders and warped intersections, there’s sci-fi and 60s galore. There’s guts to the garage and punk in the grind, with a cool snotty vibe on the side. Addictive, aggressive, assertive and tight, it mixes backstreet Berlin with old new York slime. Pick through the dirt and flick mud off the cones, you’ll find wahwahs and synthsounds and sitar guitars, and in gentler tracks (well, gentle by comparison), even a little Syd Barrett Pink Floyd.

Are some tracks too long? Oh for sure. Do they outstay their welcome? No Sir. We’re in the church of repetition where the spray paint on the alter says ‘one good riff is good enough so don’t waste it’. Tracks might fluctuate speed, but just slightly. They might switch up their style, only barely. But the textures and twists and the amped up digressions keep the earballs locked on to the blister.

The lead single’s a fine kind of kick, relentless in messed up intent. ‘Beat Club’ and ‘Citadel’ and ‘I am Kevin Ayers‘ all match up and slide into camp horror glam. There are moments where gasoline runs a li’l thin, but hang in there, all gets forgiven. The singular focus in style is obsessive, and did mention it’s their debut album?

a/lpaca buy me a cheap flight to Italy. I want to see this thing live. Dancing around like a crazed garage hound in my living room just ain’t enough.