Wine Lips' 'Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party' Is a Trippy Garage Rock Clinic
Published Oct 26, 2021We all know that scene from Pulp Fiction when Uma Thurman's character Mia overdoses on drugs, and Vincent (John Travolta) stabs a needle of cardiac adrenaline through her breastplate, into her heart. Mia violently jolts back into consciousness, shaking uncontrollably with new life. That's kind of what listening to Wine Lips' Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party is like.
It's pure adrenaline, it's noise, it's intense, it's refreshing, and it feels life-giving. The garage-psych band's new album is, for all intents and purposes, pretty fucking crazy.
Every Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party track is an unrelenting and ferocious psilocybin-infused garage rock clinic. Wine Lips bring an infectious energy to the album with their fuzzy power chords, distorted guitars, and lead singer Cam Hilborn's high-pitched screaming vocals hardly breaking through the sonic wall of drums.
One of the highlights, "Choke," starts with a looping guitar riff and slowly builds to become a blitzed-out power-pop earworm, complete with a guitar solo so sketched-out that it would probably make John Dwyer jealous. "Choke," much like the rest of Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party, follows one creative impulse to the next, hardly allowing for any form of reprieve.
Since many of the songs on Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party are quite literally about taking a shit-ton of drugs (see "Tension"), Wine Lips do their best to underscore some of the possible adverse effects of overconsumption. On "Suffer The Joy," Hilborn, in an attempt to salvage a bad trip, hollers, "I don't know what you've been thinking / Help me out 'cause you've been sinking / I'm so sick I'm on the brink..." This leads up to Hilborn lending one piece of sage advice: "I can't help you unless you learn to love yourself."
This isn't to say that the album feels like a 'Choose Life' PSA. Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party's eccentric instrumentation takes the listener to a space where experimentation with drugs (and music) is not only encouraged, but exalted. However, on an album with such manic energy and fantastical songwriting, overinterpretation probably isn't worth your time.
Any fan of psych music worth their weight in delay pedals will not be hearing anything groundbreaking or wholly unique. But truthfully, that doesn't even matter, because the pace at which Wine Lips tear through each track is jaw-dropping. As your heart rate skyrockets from the lightning-fast guitar riffs and pounding drums, you can only think that Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party is fun as hell. It's audacious, shameless, and most of all, great to listen to.
Like that Pulp Fiction scene, when it's all said and done, you can say, "That was fucking trippy." (Stomp)