Peter Stringer-Hye’s voice is a candle flickering in the wind, but his band is a bonfire. Stringer-Hye is something of a new addition to the group; generally Joe Scala is the frontman (and bass player) for Nashville psych-country fuzzers Promised Land Sound, who put out their self-titled debut album through Paradise Of Bachelors last year. They’re following that up this year with For Use And Delight — an album named after a line from 17th-century herbalist John Parkinson — and the record is accordingly pastoral, psychedelic, and lush. Scala’s brother Evan handles drums and backing vocals, and Sean Thompson is responsible for the gorgeous guitar tendrils that really sets these guys apart from other ’70s-psych rock revivalists. For this album, that core trio is also joined by Stringer-Hye on rhythm guitar, and occasional vocals, as well as by Mitch Jones on keyboard, string arranging and co-production. Their current lineup is the very definition of synergy; every element enhancing and reinforcing the others until the finished product exceeds anything that could’ve been achieved alone.
By the time the last 40 seconds of lead single “She Takes Me There” spin out into a cosmic, ragged howl of guitar noise, the track has already offered such an empathetic, yearning story about its subject that no other ending seems possible. Sometimes sadness hurts us, but other times, it becomes the very precious replacement for what we’ve lost. “The clock starts to unwind / And no one knows what’s real,” Stringer-Hye muses midway through. But we know what’s real, or at least what feels real. What feels real is the power of this song to transform the past into a rippling memory, carrying it into the present on the wings of a melody. Listen.
Here’s the full For Use And Delight tracklist:
01 “Push and Pull (All the Time)”
02 “She Takes Me There”
03 “Otherworldly Pleasures”
04 “Through the Seasons”
07 “Golden Child”
08 “Canfield Drive”
09 “Better Company”
10 “Northern Country Scene” 4:10
11 “Within Sight” 6:41 (CD/digital bonus track)