ARTIST: The Radiation Flowers
RELEASE: Summer Loop
RELEASE DATE: 7th July 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Sunmask/Cardinal Fuzz
Saskatoon based psych-gaze quartet 'The Radiation Flowers' have been very, very busy this summer. Not only have they released a fantastic split EP with fellow Canadian's 'Hawkeyes Doom' (which we have previously reviewed for Primal Music), but now they've just unleashed what is in our opinion one of the best albums of 2017 so far in the guise of 'Summer Loop', a seven track thrill ride through impressive layers of psych, shoegaze and alternative sounds that will leave you absolutely floored. The band are made up of Shelby Gaudet - guitar/vocals, Amber Ross - drums/percussion, Christopher Laramee – guitar & Jay Allen - bass/vocals and 'Summer Loop' is available to buy on lovely limited release 350 eco-colour vinyl's & 50 limited edition vinyl replica jacket CD-R's via the ever reliable Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK) & Sunmask (USA) or digitally via theradiationflowers.bandcamp.com
Summer Loop by The Radiation Flowers
Fuzzy guitar progressions build menacingly as ‘Just Go Away’ announces itself as a brooding psych-gaze gem. Steady percussion underscored with throbbing bass frequencies pull floating dual vocal lines into audible range as the soaring hammond organ infused chorus hook is generously whipped by vivacious lead lines and the luscious swirl of reverberation. Coming in at just under six minutes long ‘Just Go Away’ is infectiously addictive and a stunning opening salvo. Up next, ‘Walking Down The Street’ is steeped in melody as tremulous guitars ride a woozy swell of hammond and a cascading bass line. Slow ambling drum patterns hold a hypnotic beat as entrancing vocal lines weave and bob in and out through layers of resonating sonic waves and wall of sound reverberations. ‘Colours’ glistens into earshot on a swirling organ progression as a mesmerising vocal performance dances along on a bedrock consisting of a throbbing bass line and punchy drum patterns. Jangling guitars envelope the entire piece, placing a protective layer around those impressive vocal lines thus reinforcing deep melody in the process.
‘Dancing In The Flames’ growls into existence held fast in a turbulent whirlwind filled with growling guitars, angry bass frequencies and thunderous percussion. Lysergic lead lines lick and harass a punk edged vocal take as we’re drawn headlong into a cacophony of raging psych induced instrumentation that is absolutely drenched in stunning reverberation. ‘Sunrise’ injects some 60’s psych-pop connotations into proceedings as it bounces along on a mid-tempo drum pattern and a repetitive guitar progression underscored with bubbling bass frequencies and that swirling instrumental drone. Intricate lead guitar lines and another impressive vocal performance tie everything together brilliantly and that catchy synth laden break is immense. Up next, the instrumental beast that it ‘Summer Of Burnout’ ambles into audible range tumbling menacingly in a glistening synth drone, a throbbing bass line and acid drenched guitar progressions. Those bass notes are utterly addictive and they drag you with them through layer after layer of undulating psych-gaze as the constant thud of percussion keeps steady metronomic time. The album closes out with ‘Walking (Reprise)’, a lysergic acoustic filled dreamscape that swirls beautifully in a luscious cloud of resonating sound, sporadically pierced by subtle percussive stabs, intense reverberations and delayed swells of instrumentation. A stunning finale to a mesmerising album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe and reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Cobra Family Picnic
RELEASE: Magnetic Anomaly
RELEASE DATE: 22nd May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Cardinal Fuzz/Sky Lantern Records
Tuscan based psych aficionados 'Cobra Family Picnic' released a stunning album entitled 'Magnetic Anomaly' back on the 22nd May 2017 via Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK) & Sky Lantern Records (USA). The band create a fuzzy, blissed-out haze that skips through lysergic rhythmically focused space-rock, kraut-rock, experimental neo-psych and kosmische with relative ease and have over the last three years shared stages with critically acclaimed bands such as Moon Duo, White Manna, The Myrrors and Mugstar. Members of the band recorded here include names from a host of other local Tucson psych ensembles, such as The Desert Beats, The Night Collectors, and Wight Lhite. 'Magnetic Anomaly' is available to buy on lovely vinyl from Cardinal Fuzz, Sky Lantern Records or via cobrafamilypicnic-slr.bandcamp.com
Magnetic Anomaly by Cobra Family Picnic
Sampled vocalisations precariously count down to lift off as ‘Draags’ winds up a twisted drone, skittish feedback laden guitars and the surge of instrumentation like some deranged psych induced jazz recital in the back room of an Albert Hofmann experiment. Off kilter percussion keeps a rhythmic almost processional beat as undulating keyboard thrills tickle and harass the hum of bass frequencies and the whip of angry lead lines whilst swirling vocal samples intertwine brilliantly with seething noise and entrancing production. This is a fascinating jump off point to a deeply experimental collection of minimalistic tracks that literally pierce the listeners inner psyche, taking them on a journey of sonic discovery in the trance-inducing process. ‘IPT 001’ is a sojourn, a side step if you will into the eye of a spinning instrumental drone badgered by fizzing vocal samples and turbulent electronic theatrics while deeply transfixing atmospherics swirl and whirr through layers of mind altering reverberations.
‘Elysium’ shakes into audible range stuck fast to shimmering waves of tambourine and snaking feedback. Tumbling drum patterns envelope a throbbing bass line as the pull of wah-wah pedal melds with spiralling electronics licking and caressing a yearning vocal take. Shamanic instrumentation undulates and pulses psychedelically charged waves out into the ether as the track builds and builds into a raging sonic behemoth making ‘Elysium’ my favourite track on the entire release. Revolving drones intertwined with sporadic but haunting vocalisations announce the arrival of ‘IPT 011’ and we’re thrown headlong into an experimental world of intensely atmospheric synth swells, resonating fret board theatrics and deep lying reverberations melded with dissonant electronics and glistening field noise whilst ‘Frost’ breaks the serenity and streams into earshot on a thunderous drum pattern accompanied by shaking tambourine and a swirling instrumental drone. Tremulous guitars ride the collective sonic surge as the arrival of sublime vocalisations and screaming lead lines twist the mood from one of metronomic incantation into ascending space rock before we fall out the back end into a blistering melting pot of lysergic repose.
Melodiously fuzzy bass frequencies keep steady time as ‘Gilgamesh’ meanders into earshot pulling with it the shimmer of tambourine and those mechanical drums. Mind altering guitar signatures circumnavigate reverberating vocal lines, whipping and harassing each word to within an inch of its life as those sullen organ lines bubble up from below adding delicious atmosphere. ‘IPT 111’ hovers in a haze of atmosphere as sporadic drones fizz and whirr through horrifying vocal samples and swirling instrumental waves. Potent percussive hits meld with dancing electronics that pull the listener into it’s deeply experimental finale whilst the albums penultimate piece groans into existence tumbling within a swirling sonic behemoth. ‘Moody Mountain’ pummels the senses with fuzzy archaic melody and incandescent frequencies that build and build into raging instrumental drone until the arrival of a slow rolling beat and eventually brings some clarity to proceedings, pulling with it an impenetrable bass line, atmospheric vocalisations and a raging wall of guitars. For those of us lucky enough to purchase this album on vinyl there’s an additional bonus track entitled ‘Contact’ to grace your earholes with once you partake in using the digital download code provided. This track is a nine minute white knuckle ride through pulsating kraut like percussion, addictive bass lines, echoed vocal lines and raging guitars that will quite literally blow your mind. A fantastic ending to a marvellous album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
Prolific Donegal based experimental psych aficionados 'Tuath' just love pushing boundaries both sonically & visually! Not happy with completely twisting the Irish underground psych scene on it's head back in January 2017 with the release of the superb 'Things I Don't Know', the band have just announced another new EP entitled 'Youth', penned in for release on August 15th 2017 with the lead track of the same name and it's accompanying video spinning wildly throughout the internet to great acclaim as I write this piece.
'Youth' is a blistering lysergic melding of trip-hop and swirling effervescent psych that tumbles superbly through swathes of glistening reverb and hazy electronic instrumentation, deftly accompanied by meandering guitar progressions and rolling synth swells that stick to that instantly recognisable vocalisation courtesy of Master Robert Mulhern. It all bodes well for the full EP release and we'll definitely be keeping our inner chakras wide open to receive it!
ARTIST: Dazy Crown
RELEASE: I Don't Need A Jacket
RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Hazy Dog
Norwich based 'Dazy Crown' have just unleashed a brand new four track EP brilliantly titled 'I Don't Need A Jacket' via the independent record label 'Hazy Dog'. The band began life back in 2015 as the solo project of guitarist and vocalist Thomas Little before fleshing it out into a quartet with Philip Jones on guitar, Thomas Rees on bass and Theo Lewis on drums. Their collective sound sits firmly within the jangling lo-fi/garage catagories of music but it is also infused with stunning melody and subtle passages of dreamy psych-pop. 'I Don't Need A Jacket' is available to buy/download right now on various formats from hazydog.bandcamp.com
I Don't Need A Jacket by Dazy Crown
The EP opens up with 'Euphoria'. A beautifully translucent lead guitar line runs throughout as cascading bass frequencies hover just below the mix hugging a steady drum track and the hum of rhythm guitar, collectively enveloping that melody driven vocal line in it's entirety. A stunning opening salvo indeed. 'Dazy Crown' peel back their outer layers to show their subtle psych-pop tendencies on track two. 'Peanut Butter Dreaming' swerves into earshot filled with summery vibes that swirl around a shimmering a lead lick, a metronomic drum track and the throb of bass. Woozy vocalisations splashed in melodious colour twist a turn through layers of reverberation until we're eventually introduced to brilliantly executed and psychedelically charged finale.
'360 Dunk' drives into the ether swirling on another rambling lead guitar line. This time the bass line takes centre stage though as it meanders on a melodious trip, dancing in and out of a giddy percussive swagger as the collective instrumentation tries desperately to hold on. The vocal lines on this track are addictive and they float effortlessly on top of the surging reverb. The EP closes out with its lead single. 'Multi Vitamin' tumbles through swathes of woozy and highly infectious guitar progressions that ride an insanely laid back percussive pattern. Those simmering vocalisations wobble and arc through hazy layers of bubbling bass frequencies and resonating production as the leaping chorus break snaps you out of a hypnotising trance and tip toes you into a cyclonic world filled with instrumental drones and fuzzy sonic reflections. A fitting ending to a marvellous EP.
Everso - Single by Everso
Brazilian based noisy post-gazing duo 'Everso' have unleashed a stunning new single entitled 'Silence/Disarm' b/w 'Rebirth'. The band are made up of Daniel Ikuma - guitars/bass/vocals & Rock Silveira - drums/backing vocals with Daniel Watanabe from 'Alma Mater Band' contributing some song arrangements on this release. 'Everso' have a sound that is inherently shoegaze orientated with subtle underlying layers of alt-rock and swirling post-rock bubbling under the surface. This latest single is available to buy/download right now from eversoband.bandcamp.com
'Silence/Disarm' streams into the ether on hazy waves of reverberation. A fuzzy wall of guitars ride a tempestuous percussive swagger as throbbing bass frequencies hum and fizz enveloping that sublime vocalisation whilst 'Rebirth' sits firmly in the atmospheric post-rock stable with ambient like guitars swirling around fragile vocals, driving bass lines, whooshing cymbal crashes and massive swathes of percussive noise.
ARTIST: My Favourite Things
RELEASE: Fly I Will, Because I Can
RELEASE DATE: 14th July 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Brooklyn based 'My Favourite Things' aka multi-instrumentalist Dorothea Tachler has been writing, recording and producing competent sonic soundscapes since the release of her debut album 'Rarara' back in 2009 and has transfixed audiences in the notoriously unforgiving New York City music scene with her beautifully dreamy, acoustic filled sound both as a solo act and with her constantly changing live five piece band which features various players from within the vibrant underground NYC scene. Her latest album 'Fly I Will, Because I Can' is a beautifully melancholic sonic journey swirling around some turbulent themes such as lost love, life and it's many pitfalls. 'Fly I Will, Because I Can' gets it's official release on July 14th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now on various formats via myfavouritethings.bandcamp.com
Fly I will, because I can by My Favourite Things
The albums opening salvo entitled 'Sunlight' glistens as it jangles into earshot, stuck fast to an addictive acoustic guitar progression and underscored by a subtle array of impressive instrumentation and sporadic hits from various percussive instruments. Beautifully dreamy vocalisations wash over the entire piece draping it in light reverberation and intense melody that collectively adds a summery melancholic vibe to proceedings. Up next, 'Everything Changes' builds from its first notes and introduces layer after layer of instrumentation as it deftly meanders through a predestined production arrangement. Again, there are lashings of melancholy here as you float effortlessly along with the dreamy but addictive vocal tones of Dorothea Tachler and I can't help but hear subtle but delightful touches of Americana swirling around in the mix. The opening bars of 'Goodbye Again' continue with the previous trend albeit on a more scaled back trip before the chorus soars up and out into the ether on a bubbly cacophony of golden frequencies. There's a sonic battle of wills between light and shade echoing throughout this track as the instrumentation shimmers whilst it's underlying theme drapes a dark atmospheric cloak over it's yearning vocal lines. Brilliantly worked and both the songwriting and the production are faultless.
'Still Practicing' growls on a deep electric guitar progression that envelopes another outstanding vocal performance. The subtle wash of crash cymbal melded with a fuzzy layer of resonating guitar and underlying instrumentation adds weight to the chorus change before we're dragged back into another hazy verse progression and on in to the tracks moody finale whilst up next 'Some Things Stay The Same ( Stay A Little While)' floats into earshot on a woozy cloud of tremulous guitars and droning instrumental swells offering up a glorious 60's esque psychedelic twist as it loops and arcs brilliantly through shimmering reverb hued layers. 'My Favourite Things' offer up some fantastic folk leanings on this record and none more so than on 'Growing Pains'. It undulates around a simple guitar progression accompanied by tumbling drum patterns and twinkling lead lines that collectively circumnavigate it's soothing vocal lines brilliantly whilst 'Nobody Knows' shimmers into audible range swirling on a dreamy vocal harmony before wobbling electronics and tremulous guitars take over and sparkle on a steady metronomic beat. 'A Little Closer' sounds like a long lost Beatles track with its busy drum pattern and wavy, reverberating vocal lines accompanied by a persistent instrumental drone that winds its way through jangling guitars and stunning production with relative ease. Catchy hook laden chorus progressions lift the entire track into a gauzy dream-pop laden masterpiece and this listener is pulled with it up into the ether. Thoroughly addictive and probably my favourite track on the entire release!
Steeped in melody, 'Keep Letting Go' opens with slow tremulous guitars, humming bass frequencies and the occasional wash from the cymbals. A stripped back vocal track cuts through the production and it's joined at times by harmonious backing vocals as the track builds, injecting meandering drum patterns and periods of fuzzy reverberation whilst 'Spaceman' surges from its opening sequenced drum pattern and opens up into a slow moving ball of hazy instrumentation. Dreamy vocalisations swirl and whirr through layers of reverb as this track steps in and out of fuzzy shoegaze and hazy dream-pop at will. The albums penultimate piece entitled 'The Longest Winter' rustles into ear shot on warbling instrumentation and the subtle brush of drums. There's a air of experimentation here that is very refreshing as Dorothea's vocals emerge into the mix precariously positioned atop slow moving ambient hued instrumentation peppered with sparkling atmosphere, brilliantly executed production and fuzzier moments of sonic contemplation. The album closes out with 'I Don't Know', a full on dream-gazing standard. A bedrock of sequenced electronic drums act as the foundation for humming bass frequencies, various instrumentation, bouncing synths and dreamily layered vocalisations. A brilliant finale to a very interesting album.
RELEASE: Wasted Mind
RELEASE DATE: 2nd June 2017
Austin based noise aficionados 'Glaze' self-released their stunning sophomore EP 'Wasted Mind' back on the 2nd June 2017, following on from their impressive debut three track 2016 release entitled 'Dimensions'. Their sound centres around angst ridden post-punk & fantastically noisy alt-rock thats underscored by soaring layered shoegaze collectively topped off with utterly sublime vocalisations that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. The band are made up of Stephen McElwee, Austin Yeates & Jake Villarreal and you can buy/download the full EP right now via glazeusa.bandcamp.com
Wasted Mind by Glaze
The EP opens up with ‘No Surprises’; a swirling vortex of intense sound waves buffer and arc through layers of turbulent reverberation as charging percussion tumbles and skits alongside chugging bass frequencies and the resonating pull of guitars. Haunting vocalisations ride the tempestuous instrumental surge as lead lines whip and cajole the track to within an inch of its life dragging this listener with it as it streams into an abrupt finale. This is a masterful opening salvo! Up next, ‘Who Can Say’, the EP's lead single, builds from the off and steadily rises into a raging sonic behemoth filled with with brilliantly dark post-punk hued bass lines, screaming lead guitars and hazily melodic vocals. It breaks midway through into a sublime cacophony of tempo changes, psych induced instrumentation and production theatrics before fading into obscurity by swirling aimlessly into a reverberating fog.
‘Mercury’ jangles into earshot on a tremulous guitar progression before busy percussion drags the deep hum of bass and another blistering melody driven vocal line into focus. This track floats effortlessly through it’s verse parts before breaking into an explosive chorus stacked to the brim with soaring guitars and deliciously catchy vocal hooks. The EP closes out with ‘Chow Mein’, probably my favourite track on the entire release. A simple bass line opens proceedings up before we’re sucked into a swirling sonic whirlwind, battered around the senses and dumped out the back end to perch precariously on a melodic verse progression, only to be pulled along brilliantly by the aforementioned bass line and sucked back into the sonic melee once more. Thoroughly enjoyable and a fantastic finale to a well executed EP.
Geysir by Tús Nua
Post-gazers 'Tús Nua' formed in 2014 & are currently based in Zagreb. They self-released their debut EP entitled 'Existence' in April 2015 and are currently recording their first full length LP 'Horizons' which will be released on September 16th 2017. Their sound is an interesting mix of shoegaze, alt-rock and post-rock with layers of synth, entrancing vocalisations and impressive production. They have just released a brand new single entitled 'Geysir', the second to be lifted lifted off the aforementioned new album! The band are made up of Jordi Ilić, Jelena Božić and Matea Milevoj with Sara Ercegović (ŽEN) guesting on drums for this single. 'Geysir' is available to buy/download right now from: www.tus-nua.bandcamp.com
'Geysir' opens up in a haze of jangling guitars, subtle synth swells and noisy atmospherics. Steady percussion keeps a firm bedrock underfoot as throbbing bass frequencies bubble and skip through entrancing verse progressions, deftly enveloping those impressive vocal skills. It soars through it's chorus parts with relative ease, swirling and tumbling through layers of reverberating instrumentation and magical lead lines effortlessly. Definitely recommended and ones to watch going forward.
RELEASE: Jellyskin EP
RELEASE DATE: 28th June 2017
Immense Leeds based trio 'Jellyskin' have correlated all of their previously released singles, added a splattering of newer material and have packaged it all up on what is being labelled as their very first self-titled physical release. Formed in 2016, 'Jellyskin' are made up of Will & Zia and they exploded onto the underground psych/gaze scene with four consecutive single releases, each one absolutely sublime. Unless you've been hiding under a rock over the past year you would have read about the band on Primal Music's web pages & listened to them over on Primal Radio daily; they are seriously that good. 'Jellyskin' create stunning musical soundscapes that gracefully meander through experimental shoegaze, dream pop, psych rock and it's many, many sub genres. Their self-titled EP was released back on the 28th June 2017 and is available to buy/download on various formats right now via jellyskin.bandcamp.com
jellyskin by jellyskin
The EP opens up with 'Eater' and it pulses into the ether on a swirling vortex of kraut like repetition as its metronomic percussion, driving psychedelically charged guitars, throbbing bass frequencies and resonating synth lines deftly circumnavigate that stunning trademark vocal line. This track fizzes as it tumbles through layers of sequenced electronics and hazy reverberation. Up next, 'She Sung Oceans' glistens on a beautifully intense vocal line that floats on subtle fizzing synths and melodic guitars. This track sucks you in as it's lazy percussion arrives pulling the entire track skywards on shimmering sound waves, dipping in and out of entrancing instrumental passages filled with heavier moments of atmospheric experimentation and wavy synth laden psychedelics. 'Jellyskin' stay in a mode of electronic experimentation as 'Snow Sky', my favourite track on the entire release, warbles into audible range pinned fast to a cascading synth line, sequenced electronics and repetitive percussion. Beautifully entrancing vocalisations swirl and undulate through subtle eastern esoteric flavours as we dance and whirr through stunning instrumentation that collectively loops and arcs throughout the ether. Absolutely sublime!
The EP's penultimate piece entitled 'Only Rain (Flows To Beach)' floats effortlessly on glorious waves of simmering synth coupled with tumbling tremulous guitar progressions as metronomic sequenced percussion pulses on effervescent frequencies carefully enveloping that fragile vocal track. At predesignated points along its meandering course it morphs and twists brilliantly into a noisy & turbulent psych induced behemoth before snaking back into a beautifully entrancing piece of music before we close out with the intensely addictive 'Milk Of Magnesia' . It moves slow, is draped in swathes of psychedelic reverberation and is deliciously repetitious. It will have have you hooked from the off with it's burgeoning percussive pattern, layers of stunning atmospherics, swirling synth swells and luscious lead licks. It has subtle esoteric vibes underscored by droning instrumentation coursing through it's inner core that envelopes those sublime duel vocalisations with visceral aplomb. A masterful finale to a wonderful EP.
ARTIST: Artificial Waves
RELEASE: Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.
RELEASE DATE: 18th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fluttery Records
If you like everything icy, chilled, nice, polished and reflective in its purity, look no further than the post-rock/ambient textures of Artificial Waves. Their latest album, tongue-in-cheekily entitled 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.', captures the mood and atmosphere of a period in the late nineties when post-rock seemed less interested in pushing the outer boundaries of contemporary music but more focused on dwelling upon a kind of conceptual structure acute to post-shoegaze; longer songs with downtrodden elements but larger and louder sections to bounce back to. But while 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.' is definitely clean and polished, these facts only help in its intentions and presentations. For every guitar-based riff-centred track there appears the subtle sounds of violins and keyboards, synths and ambient soundscapes. It’s true; it is difficult to find a song on this album that doesn’t have layered sound behind it; whether this be another instrument or just the tone and FX on the guitar. An interesting and engaging listen for fans of post-rock, and those seeking something a little more sonically interesting than your generic instrumental rock release. The album was officially released back on the 18th May 2017 via Fluttery Records and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from artificial-waves.bandcamp.com
Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic. by Artificial Waves
‘From Blur to Sharp’ opens the album as a kind of intro; big, loud drums play over the top of ambience and a small keyboard sound; eventually the entire band appear and the song unfolds in a heavy, riff-orientated way. Was it a clever idea to include this song? Well, I’ll let you be the judge, but there seems to be something of a lesser-than quality on this opening track in comparison to other tracks. I found myself wondering whether the rest of the album was going to be the same atmospheric guitar-orientated ‘rock’ sound. And although it’s a simple intro song, it does little to capture the true essence of the album when one has listened to the other tracks. The almost seven minute ‘Blended Spirits’ follows with what borders on an alt-metal sound; chugging guitars, breakdowns and loud guitar backed music. As the song goes on it becomes more and more engaging, with the high point been around the middle section where a downtrodden guitar plays a shoegaze-like riff, accompanied by a beautiful melody and the thick bass/drum sound. One of the best tracks on the album ‘Living in A Recycled Space’ plays with dynamics and a more math inspired sound. The inclusion of samples and electronics alongside the heavy drums/bass/guitar passages on the song do wonders for the atmospheric/conceptual quality of the song. A programmed drum beat and piano carries the song beautifully also.
‘Rising Soul’, which served as a single for the album, provides a beautiful swathes of melodic post-rock; the entire band come together to produce a less dynamically alternative song but a much more linear sounding piece of ambience. Similarly, ‘Hush and Embrace’ is as equally as impressive, but much quieter. The song relies more on the quiet ambient passages and guitar laced soundscapes than any large pounding drums could muster. ‘Bored Shadows’ seems to be a mixture of the previous two tracks with its gentle start but seemingly heavy second half. The inclusion of what sounds to be either sampled or programmed drums also make things seem even more wavy and architecturally post-rock. The subtle influence of shoegaze also continually sneaks in on all three tracks to a point of interest and engagement. The airy and most atmospheric song on the second half of the album is the brilliant ‘Inspiring Insomnia’ which at the two minute mark features a chugging breakdown with subtle yet stylistically intricate keyboard sounds. A special acknowledgement goes to the drumming on this track; involved enough to be noticed but not arrogantly over the top as to alter the limelight from the other instruments. In the second half of the song, things return to the alt-metal style explored on the start of the track. A small interlude, entitled ‘Inception’, leads the way into ‘Feeling the Endless Flow’ which is the albums lengthiest song. In terms of other tracks on the album, it lacks their magic, charm and continuity; it’s perhaps the most linear in terms of genre and its one of the loudest songs on the release. That’s not too say it doesn’t have it’s strengths; the guitar playing is strong and impressive, as is the unified sound between the players and their instruments.
As far as instrumental albums (of any genre) go, there is one real question that impinges on the critical reaction and reception, as well as interest shown by audience, of the release. This question is whether, without vocals or lyrics, the band or artist can keep it interesting enough to hold attention for the whole release. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule: think of those classic albums released throughout the 60’s and 70’s that are three tracks long (all of which go for 25 minutes) featuring lengthy guitar wanking and keyboard solos on and on. Or perhaps music generally classified as sound art, which generally may go on for hours without anything resembling a major chord progression. I am a fan of both these exceptions, but with these exceptions application to the question at hand, both classic albums and sound art/experimental pieces have one thing on their side: contextualisation. 'Heavy. Deep. Sad. Ironic.' has the task of maintaining interest on its own; without information or contextualisation to back it up in its decisions. This boils down to the question; does the album keep interest up for its entire duration; the short answer is not particularly, but the full answer is different altogether. The album, for the most part, remains interesting purely through its song writing; the softer and more ambient tracks stand out in this sense. As for the production and mixing; it is stellar… crisp, clean and sparkling in its recording and presentation. In regards to the aforementioned question; there are guitar-centric passages of songs that become over long and tiresome at times. The first half of the album more so than the second half features too many over long passages of ‘basic’ alt-rock. Although these sections of music are minor, and overall there is something wholly satisfying about the album; a kind of conceptual element that ties it all together, mainly through production, song writing and sound.
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.