Land of Blood and Sunshine is the collective project of Joel Downs and Nicholas Beard. The duo bring forth their Indie rock/ Psych pop sound from Marshalltown, Iowa. They hope to spread their sound to the masses through their 2009 release Magick Carcass Ride via Very Nice Dementia Records.
The duo resemble Animal Collective in sound, and if you can think back to Ween they emulate that duo as well. Vocally, the group sounds like a bunch of guys trying to hit high ranges that they’re not equipped for. In a few instances it sounds like they’re trying to sound like girls. But other techniques take over to mask the vocals and even make it difficult to understand the words. Vocal reverberation and even echoing sometimes make the vocals more into a musical instrument just making sounds, rather than a true vocal element of the songs.
Interestingly, the music sounds simplistic on the surface. Created underneath, or more appropriately described as in the background, are the melodies. The stringed instruments resemble a plucking or strumming sound with little to no variation. The electronic sounds, perhaps an organ, create a circus-like or even carnival sound. It becomes a sort of nightmarish ride on a carousel.
In spite of all this, there is an a very attractive quality to the songs. “Giant Crumbs” comes off as a playful mix of sounds while leaving an eerie feeling of darker undertones. “Depth of Charm” carries the same qualities, but does so in an almost Latin-waltz fashion. “Carry the Limbless” resembles the old war-time march tunes. This track brought to mind the old Irish song “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye”, even if you may have to stretch your ears to hear it. “Snakes in Hot Water” has a dual personality. It goes from a simple sounding song to complex parts and back again, simultaneously dancing between boring and fun. It is perhaps the best example of the psych pop Land of Blood and Sunshine encompass.
Overall it is difficult to call Magick Carcass Ride a masterpiece. But after multiple samplings, it is hard to avoid the catchiness of the songs. They may not find their way to the top of your play list, or even be a group your willing to admit to listen to. They still deserve a place somewhere in your library, even if only as a dirty little secret or guilty pleasure.