Vickers were a type of British aeroplane produced in the early half of the Twentieth century, and the moniker these Florence-based psychedelia merchants have adopted isn’t the only British influence that infiltrates perceptions of the band.
Barrett-era Floyd leaves an indelible mark, but then the debt of krautrock hangs heavy too. Woozy, tremulous sonics permeate every aspect of ‘Ghosts’, from the vocals, to each string plucked and every note struck, as The Vickers’ assimilation of past greats flourishes into its own grungy psych concoction.
From their debut album ‘Keep Clear’ in 2009, to the ‘Sofa Sessions’ EP in 2010, through to ‘Fine For Now’ in 2011, the band have taken successful variations on the same psych-pop theme, and on this latest retro release the formula is left untampered with.
She’s Lost opens the album with an immediate repetitive, krautrock feel, dipping immediately into early Floyd territory with phased vocals and a hooky pop sensibility. As the cyclical bassline and punchy drum fills fade out, the ‘60s Floyd/Bowie axis continues over the following few tracks, laden with echo and reverb.
The mid-album All I Need and Hear Me Now take a more dense approach, neo-psych with a touch of ‘70s heavy rock sludge. Inside A Dream owes a hypnotic debt to Neu!, until its cyclical bass and four on the floor drums lead into a drum solo that gets more phased as it thunders onward, rescuing it from a fate worse than cheese.
A down-tempo Total War provides the most vocal clarity of the album, with a big, fat bassline bouncing along in lumpen yet stately fashion, anchoring the band to solid ground as they try their best to ascend into the stratosphere. With Walking On A Rope they get there, mainly acoustic to begin with and dripping with Syd Barrett’s influence, until the band comes in with the organ notes chiming and climbing into the ether.
‘Ghosts’ stretches out as it moves towards its latter stages, becoming more trippy, effect-laden and experimental. Everything is bound up in swathes and swirls, led by that prominent bass guitar and those oscillating synths, until the title track leads us out, fading to a false ending before returning for a mellow coda.
The Vickers’ influences are embedded in the soupy, whirling eddies of their music, bubbling to the surface and combining into a modern brew of psych, shoegaze and pop. It’s far from ground-breaking, but for fans of this type of thing it’s bang on the money.