Psychic Lemon, The Grapes, Cambridge, 13 Dec 2014

I saw Psychic Lemon playing recently at the Mill Road Winter Fair, an event that is one of Cambridge’s best kept secrets. It was a challenge to entertain at 11am in freezing conditions in the car park in the shade of the railway bridge but the appreciative crowd gradually grew and stayed. The Grapes on a Saturday evening was a more comfortable prospect, a welcoming pub with stage and dance floor at one end, bathed in red and green spots of light throughout.

They opened with ‘Dilator’, a strong statement of dual guitar, pulsing bass and drums (interesting to see an electronic drum kit). As in many of the songs tonight, the vocals are often short and to the point, the sound is dominated by a compendium of guitar effects recreating and updating the psychedelic vibe, usually establishing longer instrumental passages.

‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’ and ‘Skin’ strayed into dance funk territory with some shades of Talking Heads, the amiable Grapes audience responded by being far more animated than Cambridge audiences can tend to be. Some songs showed darker, claustrophobic edges, the bass becoming more anguished and prominent in the mix as the set proceeded. Final song was TiCkToC, already released as a single and blending many of the elements from the other songs into a satisfying whole.

To quote from Psychic Lemon themselves….

‘The band got together at the end of 2013, everyone looking for a new musical challenge — to write and play the music they want to play, and not be held back by the expectations of others. However, if other people like it too, then that’s great: The band’s goal is to entertain without compromise.’

On the evidence so far, this seems to be happening…


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