Lammping: Flashjacks LP
"Multi-instrumentalist Mikhail Galkin and Jay Anderson (drums) decided to work together after Jay witnessed one of Mikhail’s early gigs. A shared love of old school hip hop brought about the unusual name for the band as a nod to legends Public Enemy and their song, Cold Lamping With Flavor, adding another m to make it their own.
Their debut album, Bad Boys Of Comedy, released in 2020 was critically acclaimed seemingly with comparisons to such luminaries as Stereolab, De La Soul, Kraftwerk and the Beach Boys. On first listen these four bands incorporate elements of the trippyness in the psych label that has been bandied about in the press in connection with the band. Heavyweights Sleep and, (of course!) Sabbath have also been name dropped too, although there is no resemblance whatsoever to any of the aforementioned bands.
I read the album is an ‘ode of sorts’ to their base of Toronto, Canada, ‘and the good and bad of the city’s history and fabric’. ‘A sense of urban paranoia, themes of social division, gentrification…’ blah blah blah… it sounds like the guys are growing up and observing changes they don’t like in their hometown. Happens to us all!
A joining of two worlds, mashed between a stoner rock influence and trip hop. The legendary E-mu SP1200 drum machine and sampler used in the 80s and 90s by many early hip hop artists fired through Orange Amps is where these guys are attempting to explain their diverse influences, and the music they want to make. A poetic headline but it doesn’t cut it for me.
Not really sure where the audience is for this music however. To describe it as psych is a far reach, but fair play to them, they are taking what they love and attempting to make a new sound from it. Lush harmonies mixed with a dragging Alice in Chains vibe is what I hear. Musically there is nothing wrong here, however it just doesn’t move me. Technically everything is performed well, but on one side there is no commercial appeal or cult either. There are rules being broken, which is to be applauded, however the audiences open to both genres rarely meet in the middle.
The ten tracks display a diversity in sound and instrumentation, but if you’re a psych or a trip hop fan beware, you possibly won’t like this. It’s a record that may catch you unaware if in the background in Starbucks, but for me it’s overindulgent and a great example that technical know-how rarely makes for good music. It’s a hard balance I know.
There’s a lack of direction also, musical direction that is. There are some, not many, who enjoy this kind of mash up, but it’s not for me. I admire eclectic tastes but when compiling a record, a good sense of who you’re aiming it at, audience wise, and how to market yourself within a certain genre is important too. Any record company worth its salt will have a nightmare marketing this. A brave attempt but for me personally, disappointing."