ARTIST: Is Bliss
RELEASE: The Honeycomb Explosion
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Club AC-30 Records
Revered, incantational, hypnotic – Three words that aptly describe what I felt after listening to the absolutely stunning 2016 debut EP entitled ‘Velvet Dreams’ from Portsmouth based psych aficionados ‘Is Bliss’. Signed to celebrated Independent record label ‘Club AC-30’, ‘Is Bliss’ are causing quiet a stir right now both on the live scene and within the underground fraternity with their no nonsense, full on, psych induced reverberations! They are made up of Jimmy Stuart – vox/guitar, Dean Edwards – bass & Sam Speakman – drums and they have just released a monumental follow up to their untouchable debut EP ‘Velvet Dreams’ entitled ‘The Honeycomb Explosion’. This sophomore release is a statement of intent by a band who collectively create stunning soundscapes filled with blissed out shoegaze & swirling shamanic psych deftly underscored with passages of dreamy spaced-out grooves and hypnotically charged reverberations. ‘The Honeycomb Explosion’ was released back on the 19th May 2017 and was initially available to purchase on lovely transparent yellow w/red & orange splatted 12′ vinyl via store.clubac30.com
In a haze of cyclonic vocalisations that swirl repetitively through swathes of luscious reverb, the opening salvos of track one ‘Someone’ builds with a menacing hue, dragging hypnotic deep bass frequencies, tremulous drones and angry guitar signatures out into the ether whilst injecting tons of impressive sonic atmospherics as it carefully unfurls it’s far reaching sonic tendrils. Beautifully intense from the off and harking back to to those early 90’s shoegaze sounds ‘Someone’ unleashes a blissful, meandering vocal track that’s whipped and cajoled at times by soaring lead guitar lines and underscored by continuously alluring bass progressions. Up next, ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ enters the sonic arena swirling dreamily through turbulent organ drones and sparse percussion. Bass lines hum and growl brilliantly as we witness some of the best vocal performances on this whole EP. The track builds builds and builds again until it unleashes a torrent of glorious noise, dragging this listener with it into the eye of a raging sonic firestorm. ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ has a plethora of influences and I can hear the waviness of Spacemen 3, the punishing guitars of seminal shoegazers Loop & the melodious qualities of Ride streaming through its inner core. Absolutely stunning and definitely my favourite track on the entire release.
‘Is Bliss’ pulse some eastern esoteric flair into proceedings next as sumptuous sitar intertwines with 60’s psych connotations, shimmering tambourine and punchy drum patterns. ‘Into A Dream’ does exactly as it says on the tin. You tumble through layer after layer of droning instrumentation, cascading dream like bass frequencies and that twinkling guitar signatures, guided at every turn by that impressive vocal track and just as you think you are settling in for a session in the shamanic sonic immersion tank you get catapulted out the back end of this track at g-force speeds glued to to a fast moving pulse of intense instrumental chaos before being gently placed back on terra firma with a very big smile on your face (yes it is that good). Up next, ‘Tomorrow’ shimmers hypnotically around an incantational instrumental drone and the jaunty rumble of busy tablas as the dissonant sounds of dreamy sitar bounces and envelopes a stunning vocal performance. Again ‘Is Bliss’ work through their sonic gears with blistering aplomb until eventually they unleash a torrent of explosive frequencies punctuated by screaming guitars, throbbing bass lines and pounding drum patterns that collectively coagulate into one hell of a track finale. The EP then closes out with ‘Inner Soul’, a fantastic sonic trip through layers of blissful reverberations, melodious bass progressions, passages of droning guitars and slow moving percussion that drifts and moves effortlessly, acting as a conduit for those stunning vocal lines. Reminiscent at times to ‘A Storm In Heaven’ era ‘Verve’, ‘Inner Soul’ is an absolutely sublime closing piece to a monumental sophomore EP.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four 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.