Bend Bulletin Review of “The First Sound LP”
“The word “psych” is a popular prefix for genre descriptors these days, for better or worse.
Sometimes, “psych” — short for psychedelic, of course — is a perfectly reasonable way to describe an act’s trippy, mind-expanding sound. And sometimes, it feels like bands put “psych” in their bio in hopes of latching onto something, be it ‘60s revivalism, or Pitchfork’s track-review column, or Burger Records’ roster.
So when a band like Portland’s Bath Party comes along, it’s refreshing. There is no faux in these guys’ psychedelia, no ambition in their aesthetic. No, Bath Party filters its jangly surf-pop through gentle psychedelic prism because there simply is no other way.
They go all in, and they do it well, too. Bath Party’s promotional photos are a wonderland of paisley prints and long hair and homemade art, all coated in a bloodshot blur. The cover of its 2014 release “Ep.IV” is a kaleidoscopic collage of flowers and beads and bright colors and Eastern imagery.
And the music therein is a total trip, from the propulsive surf vibes of “It’s a Beautiful Day” and “Invention of Language” to the frazzled underwater soul-punk of “Lunch” to a chiming, ambient experiment called “The Big Bright Eye in the Sky Forgot How to Fly.” Imagine a cassette of The Flaming Lips (circa 1987) playing Ventures and Rolling Stones covers left to warp in some relentless South Asian sun, and you have some idea of what Bath Party’s up to.” — Ben Salmon, The Bend Bulletin
“Bath Party has a stripped down ‘60’s sounds soaked in reverb twang and lo-fi analog production all throughout their debut LP. Bath Party is a psychedelic stoner band that makes no bones about what it does only these acid rockers are from Portland by way of the ghosts of late ‘60’s San Francisco.” - Ed Stuart
"Portland's Bath Party are not a surf rock band. I know your friend Stardust described them as such after seeing them last week but let's not even ironically pretend to pay credence to the opinion of someone with such a ludicrous name. Bath Party is, however, an exuberantly reverberated tank of psychedelic blues rock that is willing to let you call it whatever you want as long as you dance. After a trio of EP's, the band is proud to finally release it's acid-friendly, self-titled debut. Employing a familiar kaleidoscope of swirling guitars, enchanting rhythms, and pop-conscious structures, the album provides an atmospheric environment appropriate for a plethora of spiritual and recreational activities. A fittingly idle listener can expect a sonic journey replete with raga-level space vibrations and explosively fuzzy freak-outs alike. Gentle blues drones swell to crashing highs of Seeds-esque energy and back down again, ad infinitum. It's rock… but more space-y… You could call it space rock but band Hawkwind already stole the name and Bath Party sounds nothing like Hawkwind. Bath Party sounds like Bath Party. As stated before, you can call Bath Party whatever you want, really. Just don't make the mistake of not buying this record as that would be both abusive to your third eye and the stupidest thing you've done since befriending someone named Stardust." - Resurrection Records
"You’d think from the opener, that Bath Party was a Ganges River Surf Rock band. Their psych garage riffs gradually drift into drone raga territory with their echo drenched guitars and spacey synths, all nagchampa, ganja lassi and sunshine. Bath Party should be on your summer tape list." - Tapefamous.com
The Deli Portland
"Between those who'll call it cheesy and others for whom 'it all sounds the same', a taste for surf can turn today into something of a guilty pleasure. But Bath Party are nothing like your hot rod Pebbles classics; closer to early instrumental waves, they spice up the old rolling routine with persistent distortion, and a sexy touch of hip-shaking Mediterranean riffs. Drowning deep vibrating vocals in a sea of bass & drums, they drifted for their second EP further towards heavily reverberated surf-infused garage rock and blues, as opposed to simply twisting the aesthetics of the genre. " - Tracy Mamoun, The Deli Portland
"(Comet) Portland's Bath Party somehow manage to make surf rock not sound kitschy, an amazing feat that should net them an opening slot on a future Dick Dale tour. Not sure how they do it, but Bath Party make this old genre sound vital rather than like museumy nostalgia bait; check their phenomenal track "Black Hole Blues" for proof" - Dave Segal, Seattle Stanger