Swedish psych rockers Les Big Byrd deliver a unique blend of minimal Krautrock-inspired one-chord riff glory and sinister rock from the darkest corners of the night on their masterfully produced debut full-length They Worshipped Cats. The band had already been in existence for a few years when a chance counter at a Stockholm record store with a visiting Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre led to an invitation for them to record and jam for a few days in his Berlin studio. Members of Les Big Byrd had previously put in time with internationally touring acts like Fireside and the Caesars, and some had gone from working with those bands to acting as recording engineers at some of Sweden's better studios. The familiarity with recording techniques can be heard in the bright sheen and perfectly vintage sounds of They Worshipped Cats, which finds flawless performances meeting production lifted from the top tier of Krautrock records. Muted, echo-heavy vocals and caffeinated rhythms make the jumpy "Tinnitus Ætérnum" sound like a brilliantly colorful outtake from Faust IV, while cold drum machines and vaporous synths call to mind Harmonium or Cluster just moments later on the airy title track. Newcombe's involvement in the project as a guest and mentor-like figure can be felt as well, if more so on the less Kraut-centric and more rocking tunes. The guttural wall of guitars and reverb-soaked vocals that make up "Back to Bagarmossen" have all the sinister swagger and palpable sense of danger as Brian Jonestown Massacre at their best. The combination of Motorik meditations and depraved madman rock culminates in an incredibly strong debut heavy on trippy textures, wandering synths, and remarkably tight production.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas