Magnifier by Giöbia

Release date: May 5, 2017
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records

Giöbia have gained a bit of a reputation on the Italian psych scene although to this reviewer’s ears, they are an entirely new prospect. Purveyors of tripped out psychedelia with the lysergic sound of the 60’s meeting the acid house of Hawkwind, Giöbia go further than this may suggest as they break the confines of space.

Getting off to a suitably upbeat start with ‘This World Was Being Watched Closely’, it is almost straight-laced compared to where they end up. All throbbing bass and sampled voices, it’s akin to the KLF albeit without the arch irony. Instead we have a band in tune with the contemporary sounds of modern psych, but with their head firmly in the motorik sounds of Neu and Can. This sound becomes all the more clearer on ‘The Pond’, which really sets its stall out with its insistent rhythm and space rock meets krautrock urgency. All bets are off with where they may end up.

‘The Stain’ offers a dose of the 60’s with its phased vocals and excitable organ sound breaking away from their rhythmic sound. This doesn’t last as before long they take us down the route of ‘Lentamente La Luce Svanirà’, which apes Pink Floyd’s ‘One Of These Days’ for the first half before opening into a stunningly beautiful second half. It’s a fantastic part of the album which hammers home not just the talent here, but also the superb production and sequencing.

After the sublimity comes the darkness and ‘Devils Howl’ lives up to its name with its grinding metal stomp. This heaviness continues on the full blown ‘Magic Potion’, which throttles the life out of its riff in all its greasy biker glory. Like eating peyote and cruising down the highway on a last chance power drive, this is the freewheeling psychedelia of the lost 60’s.

‘Sun Spectre’ is psych by numbers to start with, but once it gets going it suddenly becomes this ever growing, pulsating number which sends out its rhythmic pulses in metronomic fashion. Maybe it’s key is in the stripped down nature of the music, essentially driving a simple riff forward, enhanced by effects which leads it to its stunning conclusion. It’s safe to say that by this point Giöbia have reached peak “psych”.

Leading us out with the glorious sun-blessed sound of ‘Magnifier’, one wonders quite why Giöbia aren’t known in wider psych circles. Much of the scene has become fragmented and it’s interesting to see pockets of activity in places like Italy that don’t get latched on by wider circles. That’s the nature of the underground scene though and it remains for the bands to get passed around by word of mouth. Giöbia are a band who, for this reviewer, have struck a chord and for anyone who has shown a passing interest in psychedelia, they should check Magnifier out. It’s a work of tripped out intensity and ticks all the boxes for the discerning psychonaut. An impressive and far out album.

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