“ … in the inevitable end of year lists … ”
Last year I reviewed an album by a, then, little known Swedish band who had produced an outstanding album, comprised of just one track, that was entirely self-produced and self-financed. It was a revelation…a slice of excellent neo-krautrock that was pretty much only available by emailing the band directly. That band was Lamagaia and luckily the right people also heard that record and the ever brilliant labels Cardinal Fuzz and Sunrise Ocean Bender have pulled off a bit of a coup by getting the guys’ signature on a release. ‘Lamagaia’ is everything I would hope it would be when it was whispered about several months ago…innovative, as heavy as hell (in places) with a strong kraut/kosmische vein running through it.
‘Aurora’ starts in the best way possible – with the glorious sound of feedback – before this absolute monster of a track really gets into the swing of things. Huge guitars, positively crackling and spitting with fuzz and distortion, set to with single-minded purpose, namely to raise the dead themselves. Behind the guitar onslaught are the drums which crash in motorik repetition. In fact, much of the track is wrought on repetition…the underlying fuzzy riff is repeated over again until it becomes as comfortable and recognisable as a loved one’s voice. However, when the guitar opens up into some spacey jams it just blows everything else out of the water….tumultuous riffage and superlative jamming. It’s the bastard son of what the band produced on ‘Lamagaius’ – there are familial traits but ,somewhere, somehow, some rogue blood from a different lineage has crept in. A quick word on the vocals, I for one wasn’t expecting any but they add an almost sixties psych authenticity to the track. This is, without doubt, one of the best tracks I’ve heard for a while (and I’ve heard some cracking stuff of late!). ‘Paronama Vju’ is a beast of a different colour…gone is the blitzkreig of guitar and drums to be replaced with something far more meditative and chilled. After a opening five minutes or so of tranquil sub-ambient psychedelic meanders the track becomes yet something else. Sublime chiming guitars produce an atmosphere that manages to be both blissful and menacing…the odd flash of sixties soundtrack guitar mixed with some ace jazzy saxophone that is skronky enough to be congruent with the track but not as dissonent as much ‘modern’ jazz. The track does build in tempo and intensity but never opens up into the same level of nosebleed inducing noise. The way the track seamlessly swings between blissful kosmische and jazz based groove is a thing to behold….or rather not to behold as you are never conscious of the changes..the whole track flows like syrup from a spoon. Gorgeous stuff!
So, two tracks and two distinctly different tacks…both superb and both technically astute. The fact that they originate from the same band is a marvel. For an album that has only two tracks, there is enough creativity and invention to keep the listener rapt and wrapped in a cocoon of lustrous sounds. There has been an aura of mystery around this band since the first single on Hoga Nord and the debut album which spread like wild fire thru word of mouth only. It has become obvious that this is a band that lets the music speak for them…and very articulate and erudite they are too. This is a fantastic album and will be well up in the inevitable end of year lists.