It would be impossible to talk about modern-day psychedelia without mentioning Dr. Dog. Following in the musical footsteps of psych-rock masters like Syd Barrett, T. Rex, and The Beatles of the late sixties; these Philadelphia natives have built a reputation as one of the best neo-psychedelic bands of today’s music scene. In 2002, they released their debut album Toothbrush, and five years later broke through with their magnificent record We All Belong; wherein their single “Old News” was ranked at #40 on Rolling Stone’s ‘Best 100 Songs of 2007.’

After their success in 2007, Dr. Dog continued to release terrific records over the last several years, and have pumped out a handful of noteworthy singles such as “My Old Ways,” “The Old Days,” “Shadow People,” and “The Truth.” Their eighth and newest album, The Psychedelic Swamp is out Friday, February 5th, and takes us deeper into the tripped-out realms of psychedelic rock than ever before from this band of merry pranksters.

Right off the bat, The Psychedelic Swamp puts you in a trancelike state of mind with the gently eerie intro of “Golden Hind.” The vocals mimic the lead guitar as the song begins quietly. Waves crash in the distance. Then suddenly, everything opens up as wide as the skies above, and the listener is hurled into a vast psychedelic whirlwind that will genuinely make your stomach drop.

Track two, “Dead Record Player” is another jaw-dropper, with it’s hip-shaking guitar groove and Marc Bolan-type vocal stylings; which is then followed by the dark and murky tripped-out flavor of “Swampadelic Pop.” This song is pure psych-pop perfection. With mind-bending guitars and an earworm organ melody happier than Dave Cortez’ “Happy Organ,” this track will take you away to an alternate universe. “We’re living in a psychedelic swamp,” sings a distant-voiced Scott McMicken (vocals, guitar) toward the latter-end of this subterranean tune; invoking images of perhaps, an Octopus’s Garden in the shade? You be the judge.

“Fire On My Back” (the third of three songs with the word ‘back’ in the title) is by far the catchiest tune on The Psychedelic Swamp. It demonstrates the songwriting chops that enable Dr. Dog to confidently and consistently spit out great record after great record. Toby Leaman (vocals, bass, guitar) and Scott McMicken’s approach to songwriting is well-seasoned and finely crafted with classic ingredients that make you wonder how these songs haven’t been written already. The eleventh track, “Badvertise” was released in late 2015 as an early single and did fairly well for itself on satellite and indie radio stations. It’s a brash and tumultuous song with a pulsating rhythm that pounds and flashes from ear-to-ear, leaving you disoriented and dazzled – in a good way, of course.

The Psychedelic Swamp is a screwball rollercoaster of hallucinogenic splendor that is hard to overlook. From magnum, spaced-out psych-rock opuses like “Holes In My Back” and “Swamp Is On,” to more straightforward tunes like “Bring My Baby Back” and “Good Grief;” The Psychedelic Swamp truly offers up everything you’d want to hear from our neo-psychedelic friends. Whether creeping through the echoing drippings of “In Love” or basking in the bluesy air of “Engineer Says;” this new album is sincerely an all-encompassing musical experience. Artistically, 2016 has been good to us so far, and Dr. Dog’s latest effort should be at the top of your list of things to listen to next. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

By Joseph Conlon