Forgotten series: The Stevenson Ranch Davidians – Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs (2006)

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You gotta give ’em credit for coming up with an original band name: The Davidians have been favorably compared to the Verve and who am I to argue with that comparison. You most definitely will hear that particular band’s sound here, and I would also add its interwoven with Mazzy Star as well as Kula Shaker and the Dandy Warhols in their most dreamy psychedelic states.

Mix them all them all together in their contemporary psychedelic stew, and you’ll have Los Angeles’ the Stevenson Ranch Davidians. They are Dwayne Seagraves, Jessica Latiolait and Bryan Showalter on lead vocals/guitar, bass and drums, respectively. The group was joined on lead guitar by Matt Assmus only for this album; he was subsequently replaced.

I really enjoyed listening to this shimmering album. It’s a definite mood setter, and I do think that was their intention. Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs was an album you will want to listen to on a lazy afternoon. “Let It All Go” is a laid back song that the Verve should’ve recorded after their anthem “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” “Getting By” continues floating along in that mood. “Nature Boy,” a rocker, sounds like a kick-up-the-dirt kind of tune you’d crank while driving through the Mojave Desert.

There is, however, a sameness for soe of the songs here. “Nothing’s Cliché,” “Better Day,” “Inbetween Everything,” “Subliminalover” each seemingly melt into the other, without that much a difference in sound or approach. “What A Wonderful World” sort of breaks that mold a little bit in tempo — and, no, it’s not the Louis Armstrong song. The mid-tempo tune “Nothing To Say” can be put into that category as well, but these are all slight variances in their slow to mid-tempo psychedeli-grooves.

A little more variety in sounds and approach for the Stevenson Ranch Davidians was definitely in order, though “No Tomorrow” served as an excellent slow-groove album-closer as their Verve auto pilot went shooting on into the stratosphere.

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Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Steve Elliott
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