In early 2020, upon hearing their debut full-length Vision Beyond Horizon, Big Scenic Nowhere struck me as something really special. Reading that this collaboration included members of Fu Manchu and Yawning Man had me immediately intrigued, but when listening, I discovered they are far more than a sum of their parts; instead, the result of the collaboration was its own unique blend of desert and heavy psychedelic rock with a hefty portion of doom and fuzz.
There was no need to fix what’s not broken but later that year, their Lavender Blues EP revealed this was not a band to sit on their laurels as its three tracks revealed true progression of their style into a more open, improvisational style. This shift continues with their sophomore release, The Long Morrow, a triumph of their efforts thus far.
Defector (Of Future Days) starts this one off with a short, punchy hard rock song. The fuzz and doom elements are gone. This is a straight-ahead riff-heavy passage welcoming us in, in the style of slightly more mainstream bands like Baroness. Murder Klipp continues the intensity but is both heavier and more distorted than the opener. About halfway through the tune slows and stops, followed by a bridge of sparse guitar and vocal with a desert rock feel, and then returns to its original heaviness, with dual vocals at the finale that are the heaviest thus far.
Lavender Bleu opens with calmness and haunting vocals and the verses are in this style, while the choruses and solo passages are a bit heavier, making for a varied and quite satisfying experience. The fourth and shortest track on the album LeDu follows another straightforward desert rock tune for its near three-minute run time.
The title track is a just under twenty-minute epic and is not only the highlight of this album but the finest piece yet released by the band. Lengthy tracks are not out of the ordinary for Big Scenic Nowhere – Dying On The Mountain also clocks in at twenty minutes, and the title track from their EP Lavender Blues is thirteen minutes. Neither of those seemed overlong, but both were extended jams on an opening theme. The Long Morrow is a more progressive, multi-section work, which highlights all of the band’s strong points and styles.
The Long Morrow is deeply grounded in desert and psych rock along with kick ass classic and jam rock…
The opus begins with trippy keyboards with other instruments entering slowly, creating an ethereal space similar to early Pink Floyd. After five minutes of lengthy solos in this mode, we get the first transition to a stoner rock section with heavier riffs and more solo guitars (in several sections there are guitars trading off), which then tones down for a brief vocal passage, only to soon soar into a magnificent guitar solo, and at this point, I’m sucked into this masterful work.
Having reached ten minutes, the unreal jamming continues. While I’m sure this piece was somewhat planned out it has the feel of a spontaneous and wonder-filled jam. Constant fresh new riffs enter and are allowed the time and space to play out before moving on to even more awesomeness. At fifteen minutes, it slows back down and allows the keyboards to shine some more, returning to a vibe similar to the beginning, but now the bass and drums remain more aggressive, providing a nice counterpoint to the proceedings.
The final two and a half minutes end this epic track, that NEVER seems too long, with all out pedal to the metal holy shit jamming, but then with nearly one minute left, they choose to end it with trippy keys like the beginning giving it a full circle effect. This again accents the progressive rock nature of this track, which is so great, and a complete work of art on its own, they could have released a one-track album.
This is a great album, and it would certainly be on my best of 2022 list. I have an affinity for bands that shine across multiple genres, creating their own unique style, and that is certainly true here. While there are progressive elements in both of their album’s growth, The Long Morrow is deeply grounded in desert and psych rock along with kick ass classic and jam rock.
Scribed by: George Wilhite