31st July 2015
Don’t start at the beginning. Please. The openers made me think of rock eating itself and wonder, in a genre old enough for its bus pass, is it even possible to think of something new? The band sounded like they wanted to relive the days of bands like The Jefferson Airplane while they sifted through their pile of Nuggets compilations.
Whereas a few songs in, or on the second time around, it’s a groovy, fab and generally far-out set, particularly in moments like the quiet “ooooh” moments of Magic Steven, where more modern tropes add pace and colour. Retro keyboards play a large part in tone, as do the guitar effects. Hammond organ tones are one of my favourite colours in a band’s repertoire and, added to modern fidelity, where the bass guitar notes can carry a tune instead of a thump, the whole is an enjoyable listen. Monolith, for example, borrows from Mercury Rev/ Flaming Lips bass-driven sounds in a positive way, much as other songs tip the hat to punkier bands like The Bellrays.
It is where the songs step down to a slower tempo that the band chemistry works. Songs like Tangible, Intangible have the air of the warm country-tinged hipster rock of Jim Jones’ My Morning Jacket. Other tracks, like Heady Ways, with their formulaic rolling blues backing are more derivative but serve to make the highlights stand out. Some distinctively retro tracks like Tehuacana stand out, this one for its extended spacey atmosphere, recalling people like early Floyd, if they’d been a West Coast garage band. Death Myth closes in a suitably spacey but groovy mode and leaves you wanting more.
The band claim the songs are drawn from a huge set, tied to their experience of Jodorowsky’s masterpiece, The Holy Mountain. I’m a fan of the film and I can’t figure out the connection at all but, please, go ahead and check for yourself whilst giving your eyes a treat.