Next To Christie’s is the latest album to drop from the psychedelic cloud of Boston’s psych-pop wunderkind Al Marantz. Marantz has come out with a handful of magical lo-fi solo albums over the past few years, in addition to being a member of the awesome garage psych band Future Days. Performing from the nebulous frontiers of bedroom-style solo explorations, Next To Christie’s is a unique blend of sounds that range from acoustic singer-songwriter type compositions to trippy electronic weirdness, carefully pulled together into a coherent and complementary list of tracks.
The album starts off pretty down-to-earth with opener “Chemical Rose’, featuring soothing yet haunting vocal harmonies and clean acoustic guitar on top of a computer generated beat, but over the next few tracks things take off into more far out territories. On a good chunk of the tracks, Marantz uses careful doses of chorus effects on otherwise melody driven instrumentals, lending a warm psychedelic swirl to his already warm aesthetic. By the time we hit track four, “Hill Crossing”, the quirky electronic tidbits are slightly more pronounced, coming out even further on the next track, “Brain Caper”. The next few tracks weave in and out like this, eventually hitting a sort of emotional climax with a field recording of (presumably) the interior of Christie’s Restaurant during a rush. Juxtaposed with this recording, the eerie and melancholic penultimate track “Ghost Toast” sounds especially beautiful.
The album ends quietly with the sweet little pop ditty “Fall Behind”, featuring Marantz singing a sad sounding melody about being alone in his soft falsetto while strumming a ukulele. Overall, the variety of different styles on each track come together really nicely, making for an incredibly fun lo-fi blend of psychedelic warmth with acoustic intimacy and all out electronic hypnotism. This one’s destined to you transport you to somewhere very nice.