By Vlad T, Rock At Night Detroit
Review: Reality Anonymous’ album The Ghost Host, Vol. 1– Release date January 5, 2021
“Psychedelia” has many forms musically, but it has come to be identified popularly with shrill, distorted rock sonics and not-so-vague chemical allusions. This perception of the genre, not helped by some heavy-handed modern day interpretations, can reduce it into parody, unfairly maligning practitioners of its more subtle, yet equally potent, other forms.
Enter Reality Anonymous, which reminds us that psychedelia isn’t just psychedelic rock. The Chicago outfit’s recent release ‘The Ghost Host, Vol. 1’ is a clever, playful, and sprawling execution of mid-period classical pop with healthy notes of the baroque and Tropicalia.
Highlights of the album’s 21 tracks include ‘I Love Her Everywhere’ (and he means everywhere!), ‘Page Boy and the Dead Letter,’ ‘Orange Explosion,’ and the whimsical ‘Happy Moments’ (the latter still playing in my mind days after I first heard it.)
Front man Lyn Vaus’ dry delivery, bathed gently in studio atmospherics, is well suited to the (literally) colorful images and offbeat scenes framed by his lyrics. The surrounding instrumentation tastefully invokes idioms of late-60s pop like flanged jangly guitars, orchestral instruments, and swirling rhythms. Working together, it draws the listener into a sprawling cinematic experience, promising satisfying repeated listening.
If, in an alternate universe, classic paisley pop practitioners the Rain Parade and Tropicalia icons Os Mutantes somehow decided to relocate to the Windy City and collaborate for an afternoon, I couldn’t imagine the result being any more listenable and endearing than what Reality Anonymous accomplished with ‘Ghost.’
Reality Anonymous is:
Lyn Vaus — songwriter, vocalist, guitarist
Philip Stevenson — bassist, multi-instrumentalist, producer
Blase Settecase — drummer, percussionist
Guest Artists include:
Rob Myers (Thievery Corporation)
Alex Rowney aka Magic Alexx (Soft Candy)
Kenthany Redmond (Kenthany Redmond’s Infrared Quintet)
Beau Barry (Beau Barry Trio)