By Dave Thompson
The greatest musical secret of the 21st century, Schizo Fun Addict have been pumping music out of their New Jersey hidey-hole since the mid-2000s, amassing a treasure trove of albums, singles, compilation odds… there’s a take on The Mamas & The Papas “Dedicated to the One I Love” on Fruits de Mer’s recently released A Band for all Seasons comp, and it’ll melt your molars, it’s so sweet.
Meanwhile, their latest album, The Last Wave (Flicknife Records) has itself just splashed down, and whether you’re familiar with Schizo’s past or not, it’s not an album you’ll want to miss.
There’s an overall dreamy vibe to it… think shoegazing if (a) it didn’t have such a ghastly name, and (b) it wasn’t usually so boring. The Schizo core of Jet Wintzer and Jayne Gabriel have not only concocted 10 songs to wash you away on a wall of warmth and sunshine, but 10 melodies as well, tunes you could actually sing if you felt so disposed, and which will get stuck in your head, whether you want them to or not.
The opening, all-enveloping “Peace Walks By My Side” sets the scene; “Dream It All” is a little sparser, but the guitars and Gabriel’s vocal chorus have an almost easy-listening feel to them, while Wintzer’s half-spoken vocals drift straight out of a smoky folk club. Or, if you’re in the right mood, the third Velvet Underground album, if Lou hadn’t insisted on including the noisy bits.
That, in fact, is a role model that it is well to remember as The Last Wave drifts on, through the softly insistent “Crossing Over” and, later in the set, the drop-dead gorgeous “Expressway” — think “Pale Blue Eyes” with extra jangle. “In This Station,” on the other hand, feels ever-so-slightly as though “I’ll Be Your Mirror” was in the room when it was recorded, and the captivating “Salvation Rides” allows things to get more raucous, after all.
“Shadow Mantra” is as intriguing as its title, a duet for cascading guitars and awkward percussion, and you spend so long waiting for the vocal to come in that, when it does, it feels more like something happening in another room entirely. And then there’s “Whisky,” which sounds like something that might have piped out of a Wild West tavern circa Doc Holliday’s last vacation. With added everything.
From start to finish, then, a dramatic, powerful, and utterly fall-in-love-able album that might be Schizo’s best so far. But please don’t take my word for it.