Black Light Animals formed from the ashes of Instant Karma! and are a psychedelic soul group hailing from Kansas City, Missouri. They take influence and inspiration from ’70s Italian horror soundtracks, Wu Tang samples and Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie. Their debut album “Playboys Of The Western World” is released this month and explores themes of humanity, social media obsession and political division. The band’s members are Cole Bales, Branden Moser, Cody Calhoun, and Zach Harris.

We kick off with `Dark Fantasies` which opens quietly then kind of blooms into a quite psychedelic emotional trippy affair with drums and bass guitar leading us along as the vocals flow in, out and around. The last minute or so takes a more soulful texture. There`s a much more get down and dirty vibe to `Golden Child` which seems quite sensual and at times almost had hints of The Scissor Sisters.

`Special FX` seems as if could have come out of some late night movie. A slow burn number that is mesmerising at times. The addition of viola and violin strings towards the later part gave it a further cinematic texture. I felt there were hints of Prince with `The Revolution’s After Party` another laid back offering, which is delivered in a carefree, relaxed, nonchalant style with some delightful backing harmonies.    

I felt that Cole Bales summed up ’Halo` better than I could when he shared that it “is our slightly dystopian take on the concept of ‘amusing ourselves to death’ as Neil Postman put it, and the narcissism that comes along with the constant quest for adulation on social media, set to a hip-hop inspired beat. Think Brave New World meets Dr. Dre.” We have a short instrumental interlude with `Victor` a slightly unsettling presentation.

`A Ballad` is more of less what the title says a ballad like composition driven by piano, viola, and violin strings. A quite expansive submission. We have a funkier soul outing with `Leather And Lace` which does have that wistful faraway sense about it.

`Montage` is a delicious reggae tinged presentation which seemed to edge off into a dub like vibe towards the end. I felt that `A Star Is Born` was a relaxing tranquil soothing laid back number that really seems to draw you in, although we do enjoy a blistering guitar solo right at the death.

We finish on `Burning Cathedral` a stripped back arrangement with just vocals and piano initially but has guitar and harmonies joining towards the end. It seemed lyrically reflective, maybe of a passed relationship but also had some potential religious implications.

I found “Playboys Of The Western World” a wonderfully engrossing listen. It really seeps into your soul the more you listen to it. Black Light Animals are a talented quartet but brought this release to life with the shrewd addition of Chris Hazelton (piano), Alyssa Bell (viola), Matt Bennett (violin). The strings were arranged by Alyssa Bell and Cole Bales.

A long player that I’d encourage you to `turn on tune in and chill out` to.

Rating 9/10