Magic Castles is a neo-psychedelic rock band that was first formed in Minnesota in 2007 (First-Avenue.com). I recently came across the group in my Apple Music suggestions, and after a brief search that resulted in seeing the band described as a modern psychedelic folk rock group as well as a review from It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine, I was very excited to give the group a listen. This album, Starflower (2015), is the group’s fourth album and their most recent release, and is listed under the tags of alternative, dreamy, psychedelic rock, west coast pop, and Minneapolis on the album’s Bandcamp listing. Though the group was formed in 2007, based on the discography on Magic Castles’ Bandcamp page, it seems that the group didn’t release an official album until 2012. I’m pretty stoked to give this album a listen, so with that said, I’m going to go ahead and jump on into the music.
“The One” fades in with some sounds of birds chirping and naturesque sounds. Holy smokes, some super sweet acoustic guitar comes in that seems backed by a distorted bass. Holy smokes, some super fuzzed-out guitar comes in for a moment with some interesting organ alongside it. I’m absolutely digging this sound at the moment. I’m kind of reminded of groups like The Brian Jonestown Massacre or even The Mourning After Girls. I’m really digging the organs in this track. The vocals have a sort of mellow droning quality that I’m digging that almost reminds me a bit of My Bloody Valentine. Oh wow, I really dig the contrasting flavors between the crunchy, fuzzed-out electric guitar with the steady rhythm from the strumming of the acoustic guitar that seems accentuated by the drums and bass, especially as the organs add even more psychedelic flavors to the tune. Great track, and I’m excited to hear more.
Holy smokes, “Moon Dust” begins with a sort of spacey gallop with the jangling of the acoustic guitar with the drums and bass, while the organs seem to beckon you into cosmic territory and the electric guitar encourages you along. The soundscape makes it seem like you’re some sort of psychedelic cowboy riding across the night sky. Oh wow, there don’t seem to be any lyrics, but there do seem to be layers that could be vocals that are laden with different psychedelic effects. Wow, great track.
“Hollow Moon” gets grooving right away with a mixture of distorted flavors and bright, jangly pop sounds between the acoustic guitar, crunchy electric guitar, and the dream-inducing organs that remind me a bit of more pop-oriented psychedelic rock groups like Mystic Braves or The Setting Son. I really dig the fuzzed-out guitar in this track. The vocals are super laid back, almost providing more of a sound effect that gently moves the soundscape along. Super sweet track.
Oh wow, “Lost In Space” starts with some super mellow, easy-going vaporwave-sounding drums and synthesized organs that gradually drone in from the background. The drums remind me a lot of Brothertiger. The vocals bring a really mellow, calming presence with them in this track, almost as though each word drops in like a raindrop onto a pond, with each reverberating and rippling through the soundscape. Oh wow, a different layer of organs seems to be gradually fading in with a very calming sound. Wow, great tune.
“See Her Eyes In the Sky” gets grooving right away with some distorted guitar and a strong rhythm created by a a mixture by a strong snare, what sounds to be a tambourine, a grooving bass line, and some garage rock-sounding guitar chords. I really dig the fuzzed-out guitar in this track. Oh wow, it sounds like an acoustic guitar was adding to the rhythm section as an organ comes in and begins venturing further into psychedelic territory alongside the fuzzed-out guitar. Oh wow, I really dig the sort of distorted drones from the guitar as the track comes to a close. Great tune.
“She Wore Lilacs In Her Hair” gets grooving with a super sweet medley of acoustic guitar strumming, garage rock guitar, and a flowing bass line with a steadily grooving beat, all while some organs seem to gradually permeate throughout the soundscape. Oh wow, there are some super sweet psychedelic licks from a guitar as the song comes to a close. Super sweet track.
“Samara” gets grooving right away with some mellow, dream-inducing organs, some steady and repetitive shakers/percussion, some jangly acoustic guitar strumming, and a loose bass line and beat that gives the soundscape a really pleasant flowing sensation. Oh wow, what sounds like a distorted piano or perhaps a guitar comes in with an easy-flowing melody that seems to have higher mids than necessarily bass or treble, which really adds to the mellow feel of the song while still leading the soundscape along. Wow, super sweet track.
“See You Shining” gets grooving right away with a mixture of tremolo’d electric guitar, jangling acoustic guitar, and an easy-going, steady rhythm with a sturdy beat and a flowing bass line, which sort of reminds me of The Church mixed with a modern American psych rock band like Mystic Braves. Oh wow, the vocals bring in a really mellow, relaxed, and nearly raspy presence as the song continues flowing along. I really dig the organs in this track, which make the soundscape sound absolutely massive. Oh wow, the track seems to pause for a moment, as though the band collects their bearings and drops back into a groove to tie together the song and the album, bringing me even closer to my speakers in the process. The very end of the track almost has a sort of vaporwave meets The Doors kind of sound, and I dig it. Great track, and a super sweet way to finish up the album.
Holy smokes, I’m glad I checked out Magic Castles tonight. There’s one sound that always catches my ear, and that’s a mixture of acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and organs, especially when played in a sort of folk rock/psychedelic folk style. The album had a lot of different dream-inducing psychedelic pop sounds that nearly had a bubblegum pop sound at times, though there was a bit of a folksy cowboy sort of style as well that had me thinking of groups like The Setting Son, Mystic Braves, and even Tele Novella. If you think you might be into a sort of psychedelic pop and psychedelic folk rock sound with a dream-inducing cosmic cowboy feel, then you might want to consider checking out this album. If you do decide to give this album a listen, then I sincerely do hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least as much as I did.