For decades now, Athens has been considered a town with a thriving music scene. Throughout the length of this reputation, which started with bands like the B-52s, the sounds of the Classic City have been associated with the weird and the peculiar.
Local act Mind Brains’ self-titled debut does not stray from this motif of eccentricity and may even push the envelope a little. The album, which was released via Orange Twin Records on Jan. 20, works hard to both frighten and impress the listener.
Using the broadest of terms, “Mind Brains” can be described as a heavily experimental and psychedelic record, although this categorization can’t be said with much confidence.
On its Facebook page, Mind Brains describes its style as “Mind Brains! Yes? Happy! About!!!,” showing an intention to confuse fans as to what type of music they are really listening to. The record backs up this effort too, as its style is ambiguous and fluidly changes throughout.
Songs change from dark and terrifying tracks like “Body Horror” and “The Era of the Late Heavy Bombardment,” to peaceful and melodic anthems such as “Happy Stomp” and “The Morning Before the Morning Before the Dawn.” Listening to the album in order is an emotional journey that may sometimes be difficult to complete.
However, in listening to the lean 34-minute album in its entirety, the cleverness of Mind Brains’ low-fi take on psych-pop begins to emerge.
Each song becomes easier to appreciate in comparisons to one of a completely different mood, and in this way, the album succeeds.
It is on the tracks that really combine these extremes that give the greatest satisfaction, as they serve as a safe haven within the chaotic changes. Songs like “Whistle Tips” and “Bouncy Clocks” emerge as the album’s best numbers, showing the beautiful, true colors that Mind Brains has intentionally buried.
Mind Brains will perform at Flicker Theatre & Bar on Jan. 31.