Psychedelic rock in all its forms

the essential
A book takes stock of a protean musical genre that has in its ranks artists as diverse as Bob Dylan, the Yarbirds, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and many others much less well known.

Like Philippe Thieyre, the author of the imposing book “Le rock psychédélique en 150 figures”, let’s not beat around the bush: psychedelia is intimately linked to the experimentation of hallucinogens, including the famous LSD (tested by the army US in the 1960s as a potential neurological weapon!). Protean musical genre if ever there is one, psychedelic rock comes in blues, folk, surf, pop, jazz and even classical have injected “psyche” into their chorus and their scores. The psychedelia is sonorous, and Philippe Thieyre – a pen well known to readers of “Rock & Folk” – describes with precision the emblematic instruments, from Farfisa to feedback through the wah-wah pedal and the inevitable distortion. It also irrigates the texts of the groups of the Sixties, under the impulse of a Bob Dylan, which leads his friends – Beatles included – towards a greater literary complexity, often on the limit of the abscons. By following a chronological narration, from 1965 to 2020, or from the Yardbirds to Tame Impala, this very documented book unfolds its evolution by treating equally the big names of psychedelia (Pink Floyd, Zappa, Love …) and others artists with a more confidential career that we run to discover on platforms and in record stores. And there, we fly – without chemical input – from surprise to surprise: the furious “Drive it!” from Lincoln St Exit (1970) to the sublime Californians album of Heron Oblivion (2016), we pinch ourselves wondering how we managed to miss such wonders. Essential !

“Psychedelic rock in 150 figures”, by Philippe Thieyre (éditions du Layeur, 396 pages, € 39.90).