Toronto-based psych rock act Possum — Brandon Bak, Tobin Hopwood, Christopher Shannon, Patrick Lefler and Bradley Thibodeau — can trace their origins to their involvement and eventual meeting through their hometown’s psych rock and garage rock scenes, bonding over a mutual love and appreciate of acts like CAN, Grateful Dead, Fela Kuti and Ty Segall. Possum’s full-length debut Space Grade Assembly and the Toronto-based quintet crafting a hypnotic sound that drew from and meshed elements of garage rock, kraurock, psych rock and Ethio-jazz, centered around expansive arrangements full of shifting time signature changes.
Possum’s self-produced, sophomore album Lunar Gardens is slated for a July 2, 2021 release through Ideé Fixe Records, and the album reportedly finds the band further cementing their sound while pushing their songwriting into new, unchartered territory for them. Thematically, the album touches upon telepathy, ESP, thought transference, Ley line riding and the like; it’s a a psychic exploration of the collective cortex, the capture of cosmic energy and the alignment of astral flux. Trippy shit, indeed.
“While Space Grade Assembly dealt more with space in a cold literal sense, Lunar Gardens’ approach is more ‘space as metaphor for consciousness in all of its infinite expanding fractal forms’, a surrealist escapist space fantasy of impossible spaces — the type of place you might go when the things are too heavy here in 3D,” the Toronto-based quintet says of the differences between their debut and forthcoming sophomore album. “If we were talking movies, one might say Space Grade Assembly is 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lunar Gardens is The Holy Mountain.”
In the buildup for the album’s release next month, I’ve written about two of the album’s single:
- “Gala at the Universe City,” a languorous song centered around a slithering and musty funkiness that to my ears brought Zappa and The Mothers of Invention and CAN to mind.
- “Clarified Budder,” a song that acts as a bridge between their debut and sophomore album that begins with a languorous intro before quickly exploding out the gate, featuring rapid-fire drumming, a hypnotic motorist groove, wah-wah pedaled guitars and punchily delivered vocals. And the end result is a song that actively evokes the sensation of being weightless and floating away from your surroundings.
“Guest of the Moon,” Lunar Gardens‘ third and latest single is a trippy and expansive mix of several different styles including Rhodes-led psych jazz reminiscent of Return to Forever and wah-wah pedaled guitar waltz paired with staccato verses praising the various gifts given by a wondrous and kind deity/higher power. and The song concludes with a blazing, consciousness melting coda featuring explosive guitar fuzz, rolling toms and soaring Rhodes.