If the last five years have seen doom metal become de rigeur, then the next five will see the same process of assimilation into the (relative) mainstream of what can broadly be dubbed “heavy psych”. Already it seems that every man, woman and beast with a stringed instrument and a delay pedal is releasing a record with a pair of knockers and a ganja leaf floating in space on the cover, and a lot of it (whilst remaining quite pleasant and wholly unoffensive) is pretty forgettable. Not so Eidetic Seeing, who have graced us with a cracker of a debut in the form of “Drink The Sun” – yes, the title is somewhat glib, but don’t let that put you off, because these guys are anything but pedestrian. You can tell that this band has more substance from the artwork alone, a grainy black and white vista no less psychedelic than the garish explosions of colour that defines much of the aesthetics of their contemporaries. Unfortunately, this record denies me the shortcut of going about my review in the somewhat lazy song-by-song analysis I usually employ, since (as with many albums of this kind) it fits together as a whole and should clearly be judged as such.
The typical point of reference can be brought up in terms of categorization/influence, i.e. Hawkwind, the progenitors of EVERYTHING we deem heavy these days – call it psych-rock, space rock or psychedelic rock, Hawkwind did it first and best, and this influence is clearly worn on the sleeve, as the record rolls smoothly through a rich tapestry of textures, tones and moods (albeit with significantly less emphasis placed on continuity/clarity in the lyrics department). The other historical behemoth that leaks from this band’s pores are Blue Cheer, whose stripped down, fuzzed-to-fuck hard rock overdrive simplicity is given an expansive makeover by this trio of extremely tight musicians. True to the sound of Peterson & co., the guitars haven’t been layered to an incoherent mishmash, in fact, I’d be willing to bet money that this album was recorded live and in few takes! The beautiful cardboard-speakers-on-ten fuzz lends the record an edge that can make this kind of music lack teeth, but then that’s also down to actually writing songs, as opposed to letting a bunch of expensive boutique pedals do the talking. There are riffs galore on this record, although mercifully devoid of the overstretched technique and baroque excess that render their peers Danava so much less than they could be.
Residing halfway between the freakout rock of Earthless and the dirty, psychedelic downer-blues of Sons Of Otis (the title track is especially reminiscent of the Canadian legends), the record lurches from roaring majesty (opener “Rift Canyon Valley”) to mellower exercises in Floydian Jamming (“Deep Falafel Prophet” & “No Pilot”), only without the execrable pretention that mars so much of Waters and Gilmour’s work for me. It definitely helps that the voice is treated as an instrument in its own right on this album, almost reminiscent of a more melodic Keiji Haino or Takashi Mizutani (whose dissonant fuzz guitar is brought to mind at several points on this record). The fight against unwarranted pretention is aided by using a touch of humour in certain song titles (“Primribneon”!), a refreshing dose of absurdist nonsense that I maintain is essential to all true psychedelia. But of course, what space/psychedelic album would be complete without a bit of synth? It’s to the band’s credit that they have used it sparingly, so that when it creeps into the mix (“It’s not Blood It’s Gamelan” &“Primeribneon/Waves and Radiation”…), it comes as a welcome surprise, a well structured and thought out element of the song.
So overall, an album that turned out to be a really rewarding and pleasant surprise! This powerful and well-rehearsed New York trio are well and truly a cut above, and deserve your time and attention – here’s hoping they don’t follow the lead of some of their contemporaries by releasing every fart and belch they omit through a flanger, but at one EP and one album (much of which is fine tuned material from the EP) in two years, it seems unlikely to be the case. With every listen, the care and craftsmanship that has gone into producing this exceptionally good record yields fresh delights. A fertile and uplifting experience, which could well end up being one of my favourites of 2012! Fingers crossed for a European jaunt sooner rather than later!
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Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Saúl Do Caixão