Mind Brains at All Music

From the eccentric oasis of Athens, Georgia come Mind Brains, a shambling psych-pop ensemble featuring members of Marshmallow Coast, Olivia Tremor Control, the New Sound Numbers, and several other notables from the city’s vibrant indie scene. Their self-titled debut for Orange Twin is a highly collaborative affair and many have hailed them as a sort of Elephant 6 supergroup. There is certainly a freewheeling, exploratory spirit to the album, which melds together experimental Flaming Lips-ian pop with droning electronics, Krautrock tribalism, and bits of Gary Numan-esque new wave. Charming freakouts like “Body Horror” and the spooky “Strange Remember” are stitched together by short, effect-laden interludes that range from haywire amp sounds to cut-up guitar/sound effect pastiches. There are layers of ear candy and plenty of textural psychedelia, but it all seems a bit untethered, feeling more like the work of a collective than of a unified band. The music is cerebral and full of interesting ideas floating off in multiple directions without any major themes to anchor it. One of the strongest tracks, the album-opening “Happy Stomp,” creates a sprawling, mystical mood as it meanders dreamily around a single chord. It feels like a proper introduction, but it’s essentially followed by a collection of similarly loose tracks about which the same could be said. Mind Brains are no doubt an extremely creative group of like-minded friends and this album sounds like it was fun to make, but some added focus would be welcome next time around.

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