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culture

Sound Advice: Psych Pop from Toronto by Various Artists

A new compilation from Optical Sounds shows the diversity of Toronto's psych-pop scene.

When the folks at local indie label Optical Sounds opted to name their latest compilation Psych Pop from Toronto, they were clearly using “pysch pop” in the broadest possible sense. All of the songs on the comp have psych-poppy elements (fuzzy guitars, catchy choruses, and reverb-heavy vocals), but they’re also very different from one another.

In many ways, the diversity of Psych Pop from Toronto works to the album’s advantage. Every band involved has its own strengths. Flowers of Hell’s “Muchomurky Bílé” is big, lush, and orchestral, with horns and strings and contrasting male and female vocals. The BB Guns’ “Baby I Hate You” is cheerful and stripped down, with upbeat, girl-group-flavoured singing. The Auras, on the other hand, are big, ballsy, and grandiose on “Spiritual Weapon.” And Action Makes brings a high-energy, sneering punky stomp with “Pleasant Hymn Part 2.” (Sadly, Action Makes has since broken up. You can listen to “Pleasan Hymn Part 2” by clicking on the sample above.)

Psych Pop shows off an interesting sample platter of bands that are different enough to be interesting, but similar enough that they go together. It’s proof of just how many talented bands there are in this city.

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