Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. Today we’re listening to Psychic Temple’s ‘IV’, released through Joyful Noise Recordings.
The numerically titled ‘IV’ sees Psychic Temple frontman Chris Schlarb navigate his band through a collection of relaxed, intuitive psychedelic grooves articulated with a breezy ambience. As a collection of songs, ‘IV’ has an impact perhaps initially belied by the reliably understated cool with which they’re delivered; give the album a few listens and melodies lodge themselves in mind with the sort of force rarely found in such music. ‘IV’ is an easy listen; it’s charming in an effortless way and accessible from the get-go but repeat plays reveal something more than is heard on initial listens and the album comes recommended to all those able to relax their minds and float downstream.
As with most Joyful Noise releases, ‘IV’ is available in a few different colour configurations but we’re looking at the opaque pink version here. Manufactured by Pirates Press, this is an all round great pressing. The chosen shade of pink is attractive and the record is clean with no blemishes on our copy; playback is likewise excellent with very minimal noise floor. Pressed onto slightly above mid-weight wax, our copy sits flat on the platter during playback and, in addition to the minimal noise floor, playback is also clean and free of unexpected surface noise. All in all a great pressing and very likely the ideal way to hear the album.
Presentation is excellent on this release, boasting an imaginative die-cut sleeve allowing for customisation of the artwork and a degree of user-input rarely found on modern releases. The non-gatefold sleeve has an attractive and unusual green/orange/pink colour scheme as it is – enough by itself to make the album’s presentation stand out. What really makes this release interesting however is the use of two “windows” in the sleeve that allows the solid card inner sleeve to be seen within; depending on which way the sleeve is put in, the colour scheme changes. Although it’s not an unheard-of technique and such die-cutting was relatively popular during the ’70s, modern releases employing the technique are few and far between so it makes for a refreshing change to see one which does. Also included is a download code indirectly redeemable via bandcamp, which means file type options are varied and – most importantly – include lossless files such as FLAC.
From top to bottom a great release; sonically immediate and quiet in terms of noise this is a great way to hear the album and the packaging stands out thanks to the sheer imagination of design.