I can appreciate from where Love Psychedelico comes. The duo loves their classic rock, but there’s little point in slavishly recreating that era’s low-tech sound. So they indulge in the convenience of a drum machine or the cleanliness of a studio environment.
And it’s not like they’ve written bad songs.
But it wasn’t evident just how much gets lost in the studio till Love Psychedelico recorded some performances at Budokan for its live album, Live Psychedelico.
The band is on fire from the start, and the songs possess an energy lacking on their original recordings.
Of course, guitar solos and introductions can expand greatly in a live setting, and very few tracks on Live Psychedelico dip below the four-minute threshold.
More than that, the chemistry of the live band is palpatable. KUMI practically sings herself hoarse over the course of the album, but with Sato Naoki and their support players pushing each other, that rawness only makes the concert feel more real.
And the audience eats it up. It almost makes me wish I was there.
(I did see Love Psychedelico back in 2001, when the band performed at SXSW. The sound man wasn’t very good, but the band still had a command presence.)
Love Psychedelico’s songs can start to sound the same, and while its evident "Everybody needs somebody" and "Free world" come from the same creative DNA, paired together and played with attitude, they come across as the get-down, rock-out numbers they are.
In short, they were designed for the stage.
Live Psychedelico is what a live album ought to be — a document of a band at the height of its game, giving a performance no one who experiences it can forget.