As they turn to the latest chapter of an already accomplished career, the Mystic Braves embody a century of boundary-pushing Southern California creativity—from the birth of Hollywood in the early 1900s to the lysergic mania of the psychedelic '60s to the pure-pop bliss of the '80s Paisley Underground to the new wave of streetwise garage rock that's right now blasting at top volume from some East LA nightclub.
Mystic Braves deliver that legacy in their records. Last year’s The Great Unknown pares down their previous peregrinations—shelving the exotic instrumentation of 2015's Days of Yesteryear and the fuzztone feedback of 2014's Desert Island and 2013's debut Mystic Braves—for classic, unforgettable songwriting. It's not that the Braves have abandoned the weird, but rather the weird is now but another color in a prismatic palette. The Great Unknown finds bassist Tony Malacara and drummer Cameron Gartung pulling tempos like taffy and adding expansive backing vocals, while rhythm guitarist Shane Stotsenberg and organist Ignacio Gonzalez fill in mesmerising sonic filigree. With his searing guitar and dreamy, yearning voice, bandleader Julian Ducatenzeiler steers the ship right and true.