PREMIERE: Population II builds heavy psychedelia from the ground up with “Introspection”

Population II

Population II. Courtesy.

When people compare a band to Black Sabbath, they rarely mean the self-titled album, but Population II embodies the spirit of that record in more way than one. Hailing from Quebec, the trio manifests a period where heavy bands didn’t know whether they should play rock or jazz and blues. If the band’s single “Introspection” is anything to go by, Population II has a mind to build its take on heavy psychedelia from the ground up.

“Introspection” is inspired by “an immersion in the mind of one who feels the energy of raw Rock n Roll running through its veins for the first time,” the band said in a news release. In a genre plagued with creative cannibalism, Populations II founds its approach on a time-tested ethos instead of any specific band.

Perhaps this creative drive explains why Castle Face Records—the label cofounded by John Dwyer of Osees—recently added the band to its roster. While Osees are too eclectic for categorization, you could easily place the band within a long history of imaginative, weird rock music. Population II sports a similar penchant for retroactive timelessness, but you could also place it within the hazy realm of The Budos Band or even a more excited take on Om.

Dwyer himself likens this band to everything from Kraftwerk to Pink Floyd, but Population II also has a profound influence from doom-laden acid rock. In fact, the band is named after a solo album by Randy Holden (Blue Cheer), which accidentally helped make doom metal the genre it is today. The sustained, droning motifs don’t come without an air of spontaneous aggressive energy. Even the vocals have an unpredictable vibe to them, acting more as a solo instrument than a vehicle for melodic hooks.

This stylistic nexus allows “Introspection” to explore outer space with lengthy jam sections and improvisational tangents, all the while circling back around to crunchy, smoky riffage. It’s heavy rock, but it’s not trying to be heavy rock. It sounds like the sonics are a result of circumstances, which is exactly why the sound feels nostalgic but not derivative.

“Introspection” comes ahead of Population II’s debut LP, À La Ô Terre, which drops Oct. 30 on Quebec ROCK and Castle Face Records. For fans of stoned-out, spacious, formidable doom and roll hams, this is an album rollout to keep an eye on.

“Ce n’est Rêve”
“Les Vents”
“La Nuit”
“Il eut un Silence dans le Ciel”
“La Danse”
“À la Porte de Demain”
“Je Laisse le Soleil Briller”

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