Album review: Soapbox Soliloquy presents Heady Stones

The new full-length from the one-woman psychedelic army otherwise known as Jasmine Deja finds her joined by a few heady guests.

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Over 14 tracks that vary from straightforward psychedelic rock-outs to garage ooze and fizz to wildly disjointed passages of experimentation, Heady Stones is an impressive exercise in acid-washed sounds. The sophomore full-length from Soapbox Soliloquy – the solo project of multi-instrumental songstress Jasmine Deja (also of Veiny Hands and Selectric) – is a strong follow-up to last year’s Everybody Knows Nobody, balancing instrumental washes that whirl, seethe, rip, crash and rupture to near-breaking points (“Red Red Ribbons,” “Now For a Word From Conductor Richard D. Fuddler,” “Cure Your Own Burns”) with more calculated stretches of trippiness and literate metaphor-laden lyricism.

She draws parallels between hunting and mating rituals in stand-out ode “I Want Your Carcass,” her sultry-droning multi-tracked vocal harmonies pushing out vicious verses (“My stomach full of rusted battery acid / Will dissolve your gross impurities alone”) over crashing and roiling rhythms, a reverb-dosed stew of guitars that vary between jangly strums, fuzzy surf-hued riffs and a rather catchy lead hook, and a sonic backdrop of unidentified flotsam, splices and noise.

The majority of the album was produced and mixed by Deja in her bedroom Rhombus Window Studios, and she invited a few guests along for the ride. Swirly drug-induced doo wop-warped first single “Oxy Hannah” and the stealthy, sinister grooving “Change” feature contributions from Gino Capone (of Johnny Mile and the Kilometers) and Nick Boutwell (aka accordion slinger/noisemaker Whitey Alabastard) on bass and drums, respectively, while her Poland-based ex-bandmates from Article 47, Steven and Paul Borkowski, sing on the warped-watery “Bones and Flesh (Unchopped).”

Overall, the title is indicative of what you’ll find on Heady Stones: heavy deposits of psychedelia, with surprising moments of catchiness and cohesion found amid the eye-crossed haze.

Critics' Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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