Despite psychedelic being a by word for “recorded in a haze of suspicious-smelling smoke” these days, there are still a number of bands who embrace the experimental ideals pioneered by the likes of The Beatles and Pink Floyd. USA’s Midday Veil would be one such band.
The band’s second album The Current (Translinguistic Other), crafted under the watchful eyes of SunnO)))‘s Randall Dunn, is a cosmic trip through an analogue vortex. Taking their cues as much from prog rock and krautrock, the band punctuate synth-heavy odysseys with exquisite female vocals and tie the whole lot together with addictive bass grooves.
The opener, ‘The Current’, is a krautrock influenced slab of hanging synths and funky baselines that is a perfect vehicle for vocalist Emily Pothast. The band then veer off sharply into more drone orientated territory with the sublime ‘Choreia’ which fades into the sinister dark ambience of ‘Remember Child’, playing up the band’s shamanistic side.
The band retain the central synth drone of the previous track and continue it into the acoustic and ethnic rhythms of ‘Without And Within’, which is sprinkled with some sublime guitar work. At three-and-a-half minutes in length, ‘Sun Stone’ is by a long way the shortest track on the album. But it is a fantastic ambient instrumental that acts as an intro to the album’s highlight. ‘Great Cold Of The Night’ is simply one of those songs where everything reaches its zenith. Distilling the ethnic rhythms and haunting synthesizers used across the rest of the album, it slowly builds into an epic glam-tinged psych-rock freak out.
This is a wonderfully performed and carefully constructed album that really shows off the band at their best. The way the songs run together gives the album a grand feel, as though the different songs are all cycles within a larger track.
This may only be Midday Veil‘s second full length offering, but they sound like a veteran act already. The Current is quite simply a gratifying listen that will be required material for anyone into experimental and progressive music.
Sean M. Palfrey