Monday, March 14, 2016
Album Review: S00N – Vol. 1
Although the band do find room to go low and slow, they shrug off doom’s more contemplative concepts. Instead they choose to mix up the delivery to try and keep the run-times down. The end result is a stingy album length of 35 mins.
Diving in, the instant connection to Mars Red Sky is established with opener “We Are On Your Side” revelling in its catchy vocal hook and heavy power chord combo. Lilting through the verses they lighten the crush and coat the music with a watery psychedelic wash.
From here, the tracks fire in and fade out leaving the unsuspecting a little punch drunk. They act as mere tasters of something potentially stronger. In this form, they are just fillers that lack direction. “See You Soon” and “Gold Soul” are particular culprits of these narrowed horizons. There is pillar, there is post, but the journey between them is what counts and these tracks gutter like dying candles.
An album of contrasts then, the band glory in the fact that they can stick “Glass Hours” next to “Mauveine” – one is a punky panic of flailing arms, the other a bowed beauty of gentile folk maudling. It is the final two-track statement that takes the biscuit though. “Take a trip down to the feeling / Take your hands off, take it easy” intones the three-way vocal as the band slip back into a more recognisably ponderous vibe – one that shares a commonality with the superbly bluesy experimentation of Orange Goblin and the bliss-kissed mind of Monster Magnet. Then the segue from penultimate to ultimate hits and peels away to reveal the very “abyss-gazing” that their own blurb swears blind the band don’t do.
Soon promise to be an infuriating enigma. How can an album so replete with half-baked ideas and antagonistic contradictions still produce moments of genius like these?