Published Apr 17, 2020ROY wear their influences on their flowing, satin sleeves, and they're all the better for it. On new album PEACE LOVE AND OUTER SPACE, the Toronto-based project pay homage to decades of psychedelic music with heavy, King Crimson riffs, Beatles-ian flourishes and Todd Rundgren-style storytelling in abundance. But where its titular message and alien abduction iconography may seem derivative at first glance, ROY more than make up for it by taking their psych worship to cartoonishly enjoyable heights.
Telling the story of ROY's encounter with a pair of inter-dimensional beings, a mystical stone and a mysterious cover-up, PEACE LOVE AND OUTER SPACE elevates its woozy psych compositions — hooky and nuanced enough on their own — to new heights with their extra-musical elements. The album is accompanied by a screed that tells the concept narrative with the anxious fervour of a tin-hatted conspiracy theorist, while deluxe copies of the album come with a cassette of synthesizer compositions designed to be played alongside the album.
ROY may not be the first or the best to do what they do, but they may very well be doing it the most enthusiastically, though not overindulgently so. Clocking in under half-an-hour, Peace, Love and Outer Space riffles through massive rock riffage ("They Are Watching"), drugged-out meditations ("Love (Sky Sister)") and synth-daubed crooning ("We Are Not Ready") in good measure, keeping things brisk without disturbing its trippy, smooth sailing flow.
With contributions by members of Kaleidoscope Horse, Vypers, Possum and Hot Garbage, ROY features a veritable who's who of Toronto's emergent psych scene, who've been slowly coming into their own as they've shared stages with the likes of Shannon and the Clams, Har Mar Superstar and Spindrift. Having dominated venues across the city and perforated Ontario's festivals for years, PEACE LOVE AND OUTER SPACE is a distillation of the scene and their community-minded, "trip at all costs" ethos. Grab a strong dose of your favourite hallucinogenic, crank your speakers up and prepare to bliss out. (Idée Fixe)