Pax: Peru Had Some Heavy Psych

Pax: Peru Had Some Heavy Psych

It shouldn’t have been surprising to hear heavy rock sounds emanating from any given country in the world by the early seventies. And while Peru might not be just next door, the relative proximity to North America and its record distribution probably did more than just a bit to enliven local music scenes down there.

By the mid sixties, bands like Los Saicos were well on the road to punk and heavy psych. And while those styles of music would go on to be solidified in the following decade, hard rock (some like saying prog, but that sounds obnoxious) had as of yet to become a genre to reckon with. Yeah, Cream had already made its main statement by 1970, but there was still a bit of territory to move around in.

And that’s why Pax matters. The band wasn’t a straight psych band, nor was it hard rock, but a bit of both as well as some other stuff tossed in. Singing in English not only tied Pax to whatever was going on in the rest of the music world, but also made them something of an oddity. The aforementioned Los Saicos didn’t tread that ground and were considered one of the more popular groups of the day. So, it’s very possible that Pax pissed off some listeners.

Either way, most of the music’s pretty engaging. Too bad, there was only single, long player released.

Sittin’ on My Head” was probably intentioned as a tip o’ the hat to drug users. The track comes off as well done Hendrix styled psych. What’s most entertaining about not just this effort, but the entire disc are those intertwined guitars. It’s not quite on par with Wayne Kramer and Fred Smith, but not too much is. Either way, the fact that Pax was able to brew all of this up without the support of a huge scene or market is pretty shocking – 1970 or not.

Of course, the whole album isn’t worth repeat listens. For whatever reason, the band stuck “Rock An' Ball” in as the second track on the disc. Surely, if you look beyond the tired riff here and only focus on the lyrics detailing getting a women naked for the express purpose of copulation, it’s possible to enjoy. But the music here – and even on the ‘good’ tracks where the guitar solos get it over – is really just cribbed. It’s not unoriginal, just not totally inspired.