The Mad Walls formed in Los Angeles in 2016, led by frontman/songwriter Christopher Mercado.

There`s a new release `Have You Heard The News? ` which arrives this month eight years since the `Somewhere Anywhere` EP.

The album opens with `Who Wants To Die For Religion` an overwhelming question at the best of times so a heavy inquiry to open with. The number itself has a repetitive percussive drum beat, rapidly strummed acoustic guitar and an accompanying vocal that seems almost disconnected throughout. Title track `Have you Heard the News? ` is delightfully laid back and enjoys a kind of retro trippy vibe and for some reason reminded me of Strawberry Alarm Clock but played at the wrong speed.

`I Tell You How I Feel` recalled Syd Barrett and the early material the madcap released after leaving Pink Floyd. This submission has a delightful guitar solo in the early stages of the track. There was a stop start fast slow texture about `Cool Tripper` with its off kilter drumming it becomes pretty `out there`.

`In Your Dreams You Are No One` is seventy seconds of dreamlike psychedelia while `Seven Days` seems like a formula for life and maybe how to live it. The rhythmic hi-hat cymbals and dreamy riffs allows a vibrant, patterned, almost coloured sonic soundscape to emerge.

`Hip Comma` seems like we`ve entered the song mid jam where the narrator is uncertain of sharing what they believe, whereas `Maka The Native` is like a meditation, almost mantra or chant like at times with a delicate Indian flavour infused.

`Television` is sung as if through a megaphone initially then whispered with strummed and picked guitars chords becoming reflective nigh on introspective. There was a Leonard Cohen feel to the overall piece. In `Electric Parade` we enjoy a thirty-three second aural soundscape.

`Clouds of Dust` felt like the consequences of coming off a bad acid trip and is less than a minute in length while `There Only Is` is overwhelmingly alluring and hypnotic and draws you into its depths as a moth is drawn towards a flame.

`LA Gloss` certainly had a sheen about it and shimmered. It was another in the mould of the late Syd. It referred to the albatross, a large seabird which is a symbol of mystery and fortune in literature and culture so maybe it`s a metaphor for something deeply spiritual. The lyrics to `Before The Sun Meets the Day` seem fairly encouraging and hint at facing your fate or destiny before the track ends abruptly.

`Till the Next Time` is a dreamy instrumental with organ keys and strummed guitar. The album closes out with `Apples` and it was a composition that could have come straight from psychedelic folk artist Donovan. The title might again be figurative as apples can mean love, knowledge, wisdom, joy, death, and/or luxury. 

`Have You Heard The News? ` reveals sixteen tracks all in less than thirty minutes and it is the kind of release where you`ll either love it or hate it. I have to say that I was firmly in the former camp.

It was a delightfully eclectic mix of psych rock with trippy interludes, instrumental soundscapes, and more melodic earworms. An album that is difficult to describe but once heard seems to enter your inner being.

As Timothy Leary once encouraged us all, `Have You Heard The News? ` is one to turn on, tune in and drop out to.

Rating 9/10

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