It’s hard for established bands to take risks in the landscape that is 2017 in music. Especially when your band comes attached with a cultural cache like Queens Of The Stone Age, on album number seven, with love from the critics, indie cred, and what amounts to major label distro. Having conquered many frontiers as a headliner, but still looking for the challenge, QOTSA teamed up with hit-making pop and dance producer Mark Robson to create what would become Villains (Matador). Ronson’s name comes with little to no background in the greasy stoner rock the band is known for, but rather for putting Amy Winehouse, Adele, Lady Gaga and the ubiquitous (for better or worse) ‘Uptown Funk’ with Bruno Mars on the map to the tune of millions in sales. Continue reading
As if torn from the comic book origins I obsessed over as a child, Spirit Adrift’s past, like their members identities are shrouded deep in mystery. I didn’t know much about these newly signed to Prosthetic Records purveyors of the finest psychedelic doom we have heard in a long time, going in. But what I can tell you with certainty: with just two songs this band is ready to knock the US doom scene flat on its ass.
Comprised of the cryptically named JK on guitar and vocals, UB on drums, and DD on bass, and ascribing to the ancient philosophy of “Musica Universalis”, the band is as ambitious with songwriting, especially as they are secretive. obviously wishing to just suck you into their tractor beam with only the music, these songs are immense feeling. Behind Beyond clocks in at a nearly 28 minutes combined. Every note, trilled guitar riff, swooping bass glide, or crashing cymbal hit is deliberate, but very loose sounding too. ‘Specter of Ruin’ leads off with a contemplative plucked riff and an almost nautical feel, before the riffs smash your ears apart. JK’s otherworldly singing voice and harmonies are excellent. I actually wonder what the band will do live, since these vocals are crucial to the sound. After a chilled out mid-section it advances to a marching waltz cadence, and some more amazing riffs. The major key and the epic sounding drums are downright sunny and uplifting.
‘Perpetual Passage’ is even more obtuse and eerie. A very somber opening is more in the vein of trad doom influences. JK’s lead playing is the icing on the cake for the entire release. Just close your eyes and soak in the glory. suddenly the band jumps a few more decades ahead flavor-wise, praying to the altar of Matt Pike, the Jehovah of all jammage. Fully formed, the song is as big as the celestial bodies the band references. The end of the track swells and recedes over and over in your head like a mantra.
If this is just the start of what Spirit Adrift is going to offer us, I cannot wait for their full-length to arrive later this year.
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