If first-era psychedelic music was intended to evoke the mind-expanding sounds and feelings of an LSD trip, the genre-defying sound of Marijuana Deathsquads suggests what it's like to be dosed with something and not know exactly what it is. The experience isn't always unpleasant, but there's something at once fascinating and just a little uncomfortable about the twists and turns this music takes, as slinky dance pulses slip gears into random thuds and squeaks, synthetic melodies give way to unformed aural chaos, crashing drums face off against clattering rhythm loops, and vocals processed within an inch of their lives howl and squeal like an argument between enchanted elves and the demons of the underworld. While the playfully sinister racket Marijuana Deathsquads conjure on their first full-length album Oh My Sexy Lord has some clear pre-electronic antecedents -- the stoner experimentation of Ween's early work, the lysergic assault of the Butthole Surfers, and the vocal and musical shape-shifting of the Residents -- the glorious perversity of Oh My Sexy Lord is that these guys have taken these musical peaks and valleys and tried to make folks dance to them all. All the more shocking, they pull it off; you can shake booties to "Vibrant Beast" and "Ewok Sadness" or slink along to the beats of "Goldan" or "Stacks," though there are plenty of other moments where your mind and body are going to have to agree to disagree. There's a genuine sense of fun and exploration in this music as they rummage through electronics, dance music, and noise rock for their various effects, though much of it is not delivered with a smile on its face (and it's difficult to make out what Isaac Gale is actually singing as his vocals struggle to creep through an impressive chain of effects boxes). Describing just what Marijuana Deathsquads are up to on Oh My Sexy Lord isn't simple, but after taking a taste, don't be surprised if you ask for another dose before demanding to know the ingredients.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming