WRITTEN BY: Jessica Gambino
Although the psychedelic 60’s are long gone, old souls can find solace in the modern psychedelic rock scene that is still very much alive and well in California. Los Angeles psychedelic rocker, Pedrum Siadatian, enters the scene with his debut solo album, PAINT released on November 2nd under an alias of the same name. Pedrum Siadatian is better known for his work as lead guitarist and contributing vocalist for Los Angeles garage-psych band, Allah-Las. After completing their 2016 album, Calico Review, Siadatian got to work on his solo project and thus PAINT was born.
Anticipation for the record debut was met with two music videos for the two singles from the album – “Daily Gazette,” which was released late September and “Moldy Man,” released in late October. Both videos were shot in a VHS style that provides a respectable retro effect, with added graphics that add a futuristic element, resulting in a trippy piece that perfectly reflects the music. Both videos were shot and directed by visual artist Sam Kristofski, who has done work for other psychedelic bands including GUM, Pond, Connan Mockasin, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and The Babe Rainbow.
The album begins with the spacious “Intro,” a slow and hazy opening track that leaves the listener with a sense of warm nostalgia and effectively sets the laid back feel of the whole album. It fades to the next track, “Daily Gazette,” which was also the album’s first single. Although at first listen the song seems to be just another Allah-Las type song, tuning in deeper reveals so many wonderful sounds. For example, the bright mellotron sound makes for a great addition, as well as the subtle tremolo guitar on the right channel, mixed with slightly offbeat guitar solos that still somehow flow so perfectly with the other elements of the song.
The next song “Plastic Dreams” also makes effective use of panning, and gets creative with what seems to be reversed guitar and awesome delay effects. Despite the somewhat sad theme of “Moldy Man,” the song is pretty upbeat and has a nice swing to it, adding other new sounds featuring an organ and tasteful guitar licks that wrap around the vocals and help the song flow.
The next track “Silver Streaks” is interesting to listen to because of the way in which the musical elements build on top of each other. It starts off with a repetitive guitar and drum rhythm, followed by slow vocals. The bass line comes in shortly after the vocals and provides more life and a fuller sound to the song. In the span of a minute, there is an addition of a whole collection of instruments including a flute, dubbed guitar tracks, backing vocals, and other percussive sounds like shakers.
The middle of the album begins with the track, “True Love (Is Hard To Find).” The slightly delayed, captivating vocals make for a bit of an eerie effect, yet at the same time are also somehow comforting. This song sounds like it could be ballad if it were just the vocals, but the other musical elements of the song contrast the inherent melancholy nature of the song. As Siadatian sings, “In this day and age, we’re so quick to turn the page / and true love can’t be defined,” we get a glimpse into his introspective nature, which is a prevalent theme in many of the tracks on this album.
“Splattered” features the use of keys and powerful background vocals, as well as distorted solos that prove that you don’t necessarily need to have a super intense guitar solo to make an impact. This song proves that sometimes, less really is more. The next song, “Just Passin Thru’” has a typical Allah-Las swing feel, but the switch up towards the end with choir-like vocals spanning between both channels that gives you the feel that you are, quite literally, “passing through.” This track transitions beautifully into the next song, “I Didn’t Know A Thing.” This song is driven by its carousel-style bounce and high-pitched guitar that is quite reminiscent to Mild High Club.
“Heaven In Farsi” is an instrumental that feels like it could be a distant cousin of The Beatles’ “Flying.” “Wash” is a slow ballad that makes use of more electronic elements that seems to be new for Siadatian’s sound…and it works. The lyrics are inspiring and thought provoking – “problems that you have just come and go / you’ll never feel high if you’ve never felt low”. This song also has a bit of an eerie carousel feel, but the slow, floaty effect makes it feel ethereal and dreamlike. The final track of the album, “Outro/Corso,” wraps up the album perfectly with its lofi, twangy guitar.
Although this album isn’t too different from the standard Allah-Las sound, Siadatian still makes his mark by adding his own personal twist – which is particularly evident in tracks like “Plastic Dreams,” “True Love (Is Hard To Find),” “I Didn’t Know A Thing,” and “Moldy Man.” These tunes showcase his creativity and allow for him to stand on his own among other creative geniuses such as Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, Kevin Ayers, and John Frusciante.
Ultimately, Siadatian successfully expresses himself both musically and verbally on his debut album. With production help from psych-revival enthusiast, Frank Maston, the album achieves a perfect lofi sound that fits well with retro vibe of the album. The statement on Pedrum’s Bandcamp page says it best, “PAINT’s 1st album isn’t always clean, but it’s very clear. Sometimes the mess is the message.”
2) Daily Gazette
3) Plastic Dreams
4) Moldy Man
5) Silver Streaks
6) True Love (Is Hard To Find)
8) Just Passin Thru’
9) I Didn’t Know A Thing
10) Heaven In Farsi