Dimmer Switch is the new album from Cardiff psych-rock band No Thee No Ess, a collaboration between Paul Battenbough (The Cosmic Array, King of Despair) and Andy Fung (Derrero, Cymbient) who first met and bonded working in an arts centre kitchen. The band work spontaneously in the studio where ideas are hothoused and recorded straight away to maintain a fresh and immediate feeling to their music, but don’t take this to mean that these tracks are only a first coat of paint Dimmer Switch is a fully decorated apartment you can move into today.
No Thee No Ess definitely put their tracks through a psychedelic filter but behind the doors of perception they experiment with a mix of styles. Opening track ‘Kaleidoscopic’ is a slow sunrise on the album, easing you in gently before ‘Chorus’ slaps you fully awake with what I described in my single review as being like creatures trying to claw and rip their way into our world from another dimension. The title track ‘Dimmer Switch’ sits somewhere between Radiohead and Pink Floyd and ‘The Very Best Thing About Summer’ and ‘Broken Silence’ put me in mind of the more temperate tracks from Edwyn Collins. The clattering brevity of ‘Jazz Hands’ is all elbows and knees as if the sax and drums are engaged in a knife fight. The drunken merry-go-round of ‘Cascading éclair’ and surf-folk of ‘Consumption’ feel like the most improvised of all the tracks.
‘Broken Wheel Symphony’ is a haunted fairground of backwards sounds and delicate guitar that felt like someone had gotten The Cardiacs stoned. ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Tailing the Ship’ show off their shared love of the Beach Boys, adding a Californian tan and psych-pop harmonies to the former and trippy, slow-motion honey to the latter. The album ends with ‘Wild Prairie’ a Doors-like track driven by excitable bass and gleaming Ray Manzarek keyboard sounds. It leaves the album heading off into the sunset and perfectly completes the circle allowing you to go back to the beginning for one more go round.
Review by Paul F Cook