Bysts – ‘Dreamland’ (EP) reviewed

❉ With self-satisfied garage-punch, Bysts have unveiled an eerily seductive display of howling temerity, writes Eoghan Lyng.

One of the greatest garage bands are The Jesus and Mary Chain. Where the antics of the Gallagher brothers made more tedious headlines than arresting music, the Reid brothers brought some excitingly and violently audacious master works out of their feuds. The Jesus and Mary Chain delivered three of the greatest eighties post psychedelic albums. Psychocandy, Darklands and Automatic formed three citadels of reverb and beauty, compressed in electric lyricism and vitality. Whatever about the Mary Chain’s subsequent work, it is to Bysts’ great credit they continue The Mary Chain’s starker stature in their music, delivering an E.P. that proffers “Dark wave psychedelia. Lush pop arrangements. Moody hypnotic swells. And evil like a motherfucker.”

Just as the top three records were the creations of messrs. Jim and William Reid, so this provocative album is the synergy of indie duo Bryan Holbrook and Stefanie Marlow, visceral haunting beats drumming through the cavernous E.P. There are some memorable hooks, hypnotic beats and, most pleasantly surprising, some interesting uses of melody. They should contact Jim himself the next time they hit Glasgow!

The Los Angeles duo have shared stages with Autolux, Black Angels, Neon Trees, Black Lips, Mini Mansions, Ben Kweller, Dead Meadow, Spindrift, Strange Boys, White Rabbits, Dengue Fever, Swervedriver, The Growlers, White Hills, and Crystal Stilts. Catching the ear of independent east coast label The Rolling People Records, BYSTS released an exclusive vinyl only debut album, Killer On The Road. If they sound portentous, they’ve earned this delicious title it in a cascade of apocalyptic riffs and jugular bass lines. True to their gothic roots, they’ve recorded the kitsch Killing An Arab for a Cure tribute album. Robert Smith’s magnetic shine has passed itself on at a time when he is readying himself for a comeback record.

The opening Divine punches like a punk track, Holbrook and Marlow whispering into their microphones with the seductive stealth Bono brought to his on The Fly. Where The Edge offers slick, sophisticated riffs, Bysts cover themselves in controlled chaotic reverb. It’s incredibly exciting to listen to the walls of guitars mount on one another with paramount effect. Dreamland is the breath-taking piece here, a correlation of regal, funereal marches, Floydian organ sounds and shrill falsettos. Holbrook works his fingers through a visceral solo, serene in hook and blues staccato while Marlow puts an elaborate bass pattern that wouldn’t sound out of place on Radiohead’s industrious Kid A. You Get What You Give moves back from The Mary Chain and The Cure to release a Bowie-stapled ballad, heavy on magnetism, light on subtle instrumentation, a veritable love letter to the David Bowie and Brian Eno of “Heroes”. Three great tracks.

They wear their donnish influences with pride, keeping a rhythm that’s theirs and theirs alone. With self-satisfied garage-punch, Bysts have unveiled an eerily seductive display of howling temerity, beating their listeners with the extremities John Cale and Lou Reed evoked on their masterpiece White Light/White Heat. Sweet, textured, erudite and tantalising; just like honey!

❉ BYSTS: Dreamland EP released 11 January 2019. Social: | |

❉ Eoghan Lyng is a regular contributor to We Are Cult. His writing has also appeared in Record Collector, CultureSonar, Punk Noir Magazine and other titles.

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