There was a moment, a brief moment, when it struck us as a bit too easy, a bit too unimaginative, perhaps a bit too on-the-nose, to secure the title of what we can universally agree is one of the greatest achievements of humankind, to attach yourself to the singular, extraordinary achievement of the Count Five and take it as the name of your band.
Yet thanks to the sound of Psychotic Reaction – here referring in general to the trio hailing from the reportedly uninhabitable planet known as Oklahoma, and in particular to their recently released unhinged howitzer of an album, “The Sound Out of Space” – we remained open and calm, we let go and watched as this moment, like all moments, passed.
And then we lost our fucking minds.
Or maybe we found it … in the sound of “The Sound Out of Space.”
It took about two seconds of the sneering, stomping opener, “She’s In Black” for the moment to pass and the transmission of Psychotic Reaction to take hold, for us to find ourselves within “The Sound Out of Space,” a sound and space that we find comforting if never quite comfortable.
The sound of Psychotic Reaction is the sound of the steam-driven train just barely staying on the tracks, and we mean that in the most complimentary way possible. There’s velocity here, the songs hurled forward like a hot iron ball, an urgent delivery right between the eyes, an awesome antidote to any moments in time when you feel your rock and roll has gone flat, lifeless and detached.
Ugly, urgent and uncontrollable rock and roll – no surprise when viewing the album’s liner photos of the leather-clad trio drinking beers, kicking out the jams and (apparently) attempting to eat a rototom. But wait – there’s more!
Yes, “The Sound Out of Space” is ugly, urgent and uncontrollable. But it’s also memorable, from a purely musical point-of-view. “She’s In Black” isn’t just sneering; it’s endearing, an anthem for disaffected, dissatisfied volume junkies the world over, with a hook that lodges itself in your brain before announcing, “Let’s stay here for awhile.” And the same goes for “Oklahoma City Mainline Paranoia Blues.” And the same goes for “Long Hair and Painted Faces.” And the same goes for “No Way Out.” And the same goes for “Call of the Abyss.” And …
You get the point. You can’t miss it.
They could have called themselves “Pushin’ Too Hard,” or “Complication,” or “Knock, Knock” or “insert your favorite lid-flipping tune here” and achieved the same result. In this way, Psychotic Reaction have done a great thing – they’ve done much more than simply take the name “Psychotic Reaction”; they’ve taken the spirit. Highest possible recommendation.