CIOLKOWSKA - Psychedelia

Ciolkowska - Psychedelia

7 songs
33:02 minutes
***** ***


Prologue: Usually prologues are something you find in novels, but in the case of Ciolkowska’s new album Psychedelia, I reserve the right to write something before the actual review. I received this promo in April 2019, wrote a review, and was asked to wait to publish it until Autumn when the album was supposed to be released. And it wasn’t released, so the review kept sitting in my cloud drive, waiting and waiting and waiting, until now that it finally saw the light of day. I haven’t changed the words, but want you to know that what you are about to read has been written over a year ago. So the review should start with "Two Years after...", but it doesn’t. But enough of the for now, do read for yourself.

One year after their last album Avtomat Proshlogo, Saint Petersburg space rock quartet Ciolkowska is back with their already eighth record Psychedelia. If I enjoyed last time the band’s unpredictable nature at how they combined their space rock with the most different genres, I was surprised to see the Russians adopt a more restrained mode on the new album. The album’s seven songs only make it a little over half an hour, which is the only drawback here, as Ciolkowska’s new orientation makes them highly listening and leaving the listener wanting for more.

The album begins with Kley (Glue), a song released as a video clip already in March, and feels on the surface actually more like a post rock song than a space rock freakout. The band is acting more delicately. Gone are the outbursts of yesteryear. Unlike many space or psychedelic rock bands that like to use bubbling synthesizers, Ciolkowska have in their line-up a ukulele player who uses a lot of effects that give this tiny instrument more depth than you could ever imagine. Although the band also used vocals in the past, they have become more prominent on the new album, giving the songs overall a more accessible nature. The following Kovrizhki (Gingerbread) is a more upbeat track with a more experimental ending. Maxavişnu (Wastewater) turns into some kind of progressive kraut rock, with the guitar reminding me somewhat of early Amon Düül II. Maybe it’s also the ukulele and the Russian lyrics that add this Eastern touch that the German kraut rock pioneers also sometimes used. Angelina is at seven and a half minutes a longer track, starting out quietly before a straight beat and a groovy bass line join in, making this melancholic song somehow danceable. Tapki (Parts 1 and 2) (Sneakers Parts 1 and 2) are two tracks that form an eight minute long behemoth beginning with the two minute short mellow intro, before the longer second part conjures a wonderful mix of space, psychedelic, post and progressive rock that seems to have become this band’s signature sound. The album ends with the title track, which might also become a possible candidate for a video clip, because never before have Ciolkowska sounder catchier than on this singalong psyche rock anthem!

The quartet’s previous album was quite pleasant, but Psychedelia takes them to whole new levels. It’s a shame that the album ends already after thirty-three minutes, because the four musicians from Saint Petersburg have finally managed to give their progressive psychedelic space rock hybrid a sound that makes them far more approachable without having given up their identity. This was unexpected, but in a good way.

Back to Reviews