Psychedelic jam rockers Ozric Tentacles return on October 25th with their latest studio concoction Paper Monkeys. This deliciously trippy rock ensemble was born at a free form, six-hour campfire jam at the Stonehenge free festival in 1983, and since their spontaneous origin the group, always lead by guitarist Ed Wynne, has unleashed 25 albums on the world and sold over a million albums. Those are solid sales for an instrumental ensemble lacking commercial radio or videoplay. Some American listeners will recall their trio of albums on IRS Records in the early to mid-Nineties — Strangeitude, Jurassic Shift and Arborescence — and since that time they have continued to conjure more of their signature sliding, gliding sonic worlds.
Debuting here at A.D.D. is the song “Paper Monkeys,” an effervescent burst of classic Ozrics rock, driven by a melodically charged guitar line supported by gentle synth washes and a pulsating rhythm section. It’s certainly the kind of hard rockin’ tune that echoes the IRS years, while the rest of the album embraces numerous inflections that have swirled within their sonic stews over the years — ambient vistas, alien tribal rhythms, Eastern elements, trippy dub grooves and techno traces. While the Ozrics have experimented with different approaches over the years, this return to their classic sound is actually fresh and fun. One wonders what it might like if the Ozrics were hired to write a sci-fi score.
It is interesting to note that Ozric Tentacles now consists of three Wynne family members — Ed on guitars and synths, wife Brandi on bass and son Silas on synths — plus Ollie Seagal on drums. While the group has veered into a distinctly family affair, their music retains the vim and vigor of past efforts with other bandmates. The quirky quartet will be playing six dates in the Midwest between October 27th and November 1st, so if you’re in any of those areas, check ’em out.