Tue 7th February 2017
There'll be a whole heap of people, of a certain age, that will get a warm nostalgic thrill here even before the music is played. I'd wager heavily there's some of you having clicked this link purely due to the picture alone, right? It sure pulled me in. That rudimentary Kozik style artwork, the font, the vehicular cover that could have transported straight from an old Fu Manchu EP, the stick-two-words together of a vague stoner realm band name ethos, the space-travel album title. This promises to be a trip back to trips of old.
Man's Ruin and Meteor City... All That's Heavy radio and the nymph artwork of stonerrock.com...
It could all be a false promise of course, but the opening New Pubes sets things straight, depositing you straight into early/mid 90s stoner rock as you'd have hoped. It kicks out with a bassy punch, somewhere between young Dozer and The Melvins, with the grittier edge evident vaguely aligned to the heavier ends of Man's Ruin releases, such as Cavity. The chorus strangely recalls the coarse end of grunge, Bleach-era Nirvana even, without that being a detrimental comment. Yeah, this is already a thrill.
Californian desert family trees, fantastical poster art... must-have magical split releases... lyrical themes limited to space, transport and drugs...
Giza is purely instrumental, fairly easy going without venturing into psychedelic planes, it is acceptable without any particular excitement, largely unremarkable bar the anticipation-building, near-annoying overly long breaks of silence akin (as I'm now in the mood for looking back) to those at the end of Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop. The following Old Flower is okay, nods to Nebula and Wool, nearly getting into a nice Atomic Bitchwax style thing but never quite making it.
when no-one cared for a definition between doom and stoner rock... of band denial of Sabbath worship that nobody believed... new post-Kyuss offshoots popping up every few weeks to dampen the sadness of their demise...
The generic rock of Sleeper isn't inspiring, but, as I should have picked up from the song title, this breaks into pure Sleep worship through vocals, and to be fair does pick up into some groove, never bowing down in worship to the Holy Mountain gods completely, but in fragments, when it does, pure Dragonaut head space occupation. The album drifts from there, the odd moment perking up, but not providing enough spark to really note, until the closing Ain't Gonna...'s second half channels early Orange Goblin riff happiness that'll get you moving.
of Wyndorf, Garcia, Dorrian, Pike and Hill, of Buzz, Wino, Brant and Lori, of Mundell, Romano and big Ben Ward... of good times, fond memories... of bass, of riffs, of groove
Stoner rock has just about survived since those formative days of course, and you'd think for a scene so often criticised for unoriginality (even back then), this wouldn't be anything to get particularly excited about. But it harks back to the early times so directly, forgoing the changes and losing the tiredness that has crept in since that it skips that generation of wandering stoner souls. Lets get this straight, this won't signal a revival, nor a reaffirmation of long lost obsessions, and truth be told this isn't great, even with my currently overly obliging nostalgic mindset... but the whole package is so familiar - and fun - that, for those mentioned at the start, like me, there is much to revel in and reminisce.