Have you ever been to California? Or how about time traveling on a unicorn’s back? Ever wonder what it was like to be present in the 1960’s dancing in fields and making friends wherever you went? You can find it all in the third release from LA’s The Smoking Trees, titled The Archer and the Bull. What started as a five-piece band is now a friendly duo consisting of Sir Psych (Martin Nunez) and L.A.AL making a blend of psychedelic pop and garage rock.
The Archer and the Bull could not have found a better home than on California’s own DIY centric label with a soft spot for retro garage laden tunes, Burger Records. The Archer and the Bull sounds like if Foxygen, Olivia Tremor Control and The Zombies all had an orgy and produced this beautiful love child that came out covered in flowers and paisley. The Archer and the Bull spans 14 tracks that are warm and dripping with psychedelic undertones and melodic harmonies. The vocals tend to be heavy on the reverb side and they sound inviting yet mysterious.
With sunshiney organs, gritty guitar and trippy acid flashback echoes, The Smoking Trees know how to evoke a feeling. And the tambourine is hot all throughout. It’s like Timothy Leary’s wet dream.
Sir Psych says, “The Archer and The Bull is the continuation of last year’s, TST (Ample Play/Burger Records) It was actually recorded during the TST Sessions, and spawned a totally new album, that completes the session’s released tracks.”
The first track, “Seen in a Scene,” begins with a circus-esque introduction squealing “ladies and gentlemen” and then we dive right into the reverb-drenched sunshine that is reminiscent of 60’s psych pop. “It’s up to You,” is a catchy pop song with Sir Psych singing, “it’s all right my friend, your words are floating in the wind.” He has a way that makes you believe what he’s saying is true.
“High Horse” is one of the stand out tracks off The Archer and the Bull. The track is about exactly what it sounds like, someone who is on their high horse and needs to get back down to reality. “High Horse” has this really rad organ all throughout that gives it this dark psychedelic vibe, keeping it steady. “My Last Catastrophe” has sounds that call to Yo La Tengo-esque piano, about relationships coming and going.
My personal favorite track off the record is “Summer Sun.” It’s an anthem for the warmer days, beckoning to the sun to shine down on us and let us long for the fun times to come on the weekends.
Overall, the album spans elements of hip hop, jangle pop, 60’s drenched tunes with these weird trippy echoes and sitars all coexisting. The Archer and the Bull was recorded at The Psychedelic Shack, produced, mixed and mastered by Sir Psych.