“Now” is the third album by Kawaguchi Masami’s New Rock Syndicate, after Cat Vs. Frog (Palindrome, 2007) and The Psychedelic Sounds Of New Rock Syndicate (8mm, 2011). Expanding on the terrain covered on both those earlier albums, and a string of self-released and limited-edition CD-Rs, it’s a glorious set of psychedelic garage rock, with lacunae for acid-spiked instrumentals (“Intermission”, written by drummer Yamamoto Koichiro), languid blues interludes (“Blues In Haze”) and narcotic melancholy a la third-album Velvet Underground (the gorgeous “The Sound Of The Bell”).
It’s also Kawaguchi’s first major release since his solo album for Anthony Guerra’s Black Petal imprint, The Mad Guitar Sings. Much like that record, “Now” has Kawaguchi playing loose and wild with rock and the blues (but not ‘blues-rock’), only this time, his blazing guitar is roaring over the fluid, deeply connected rhythm machine of Yamamoto and bass player Kikuchi Akira. Recorded in 2016, to mark the tenth anniversary of the New Rock Syndicate, it’s the consummate example of Kawaguchi’s vision of what rock music could – and should – do.