From the ashes of psych band Prince Rama, Taraka moved to the Catskills in New York State and from there has launched a solo career heralded by the first single release, ‘Psychocastle’.
Guitars crunch, swoop, wail and fuzz, drums batter over foundations of bass, and everything is barely contained in the padded cell that the tune bounces off the walls of. There is more edge than a geometry set in this manic 3-minute fever dream, and apart from a light-touch pre-chorus, the track is all sinew, snarl, and posture. Taraka’s voice can hold back the crazy and then release it in a pyrotechnic fury. The overall effect is a disorientating, riotous, out-of-phase thrill ride.
The video, directed by Taraka and Matthew Hoffman, was shot inside an abandoned mental institution and the frenetic editing is a jump-cut mix featuring Taraka leaping about like she’s been possessed by Nina Hagen, balloons being released, a bed adrift by a waterfall, carrying the bed like a shell (a nod to Julian Cope’s ‘Fried’?) , plaster being dislodging, a snake on a head, a snake on a bed, a muscle suit with added tampon and, at the point you think your head will re-enact Scanners, you also get some psychotic cheerleaders, much crushing of grapes and guitar shredding in a graveyard.
If Taraka had any concerns over life after Prince Rama, then she need not worry as ‘Psychocastle’ is distilled L’amour fou; a mutinous, dopamine-inducing calling card for what I believe is more excitement yet to come.
‘Psychocastle’ is taken from the album Welcome To Paradise Lost which comes out on 8th October.
Review by Paul F Cook