Greenbeard had made their name on the stoner rock scene via their first releases since forming in Austin in 2014, distinguishing themselves with high energy and heavy psych sounds. Their latest release, Variant, is a turn towards the clouds, aiming at a vision of what the band terms ‘desert soul’. Best check your seatbelts.
The album cover is a very interesting piece that would be great to stare at on a vinyl sleeve, sitting on a cushion couch while listening to these songs.
Variant opens with Creatures Of The Night, landing on some fuzzy upbeat goodness paving the way for good times. The vocals sound really good, and although there’s nothing particularly fresh in this side of the beard, everything in it has rather been aged to perfection.
On Burns Like Basketweave the experimentation really starts to be noticeable. Fabulous production and the groove of this track is sweet. I’d say this song is truly fucking sexy in the verses, and from the moments where it takes off. This one got me seriously moving around to avoid a spontaneous beard combustion. It’s a left turn when the whole thing slows down, but it flows with much ease, demonstrating the quality of this band.
At the beginning of Get In The Car. No Time To Explain we’re back to more traditional riffing and rocking territory, which Greenbeard are very effective at. The leads are solid and the guitar tones are great. Another left turn in the middle of this song gets us surprisingly into horn section territory and very much a throwback sound used to great effectiveness. It’s like the colours suddenly change while driving through the desert. The horns and backing vocals are amazing, I’m pretty sure they travelled back in time to record this one.
Every track from the first to the last rocks hard…
Diamond In The Devil’s Grinder is laid back as all hell. The horn section again is what pushes this track off the ground initially, leading into one of the tastiest solos of the album. The sax solo really cooks and pushes it all over the edge. The production across the album is magnificent, definitely a lot to be found in listening to the whole thing. The band keeps taking these left turns midway through songs, which seem to throw the band down specifically chosen directions, always guided by the overarching vision of reaching the ‘desert soul’.
Sanitario De La Soul launches into straight blues territory via some deliciously aggressive melodic riffing. The climax of the song brings on more gain but it’s all in service of a higher purpose, namely getting us to another awesome solo.
Exodus and Bare Bones deliver us more earfuls of fuzzy crushing goodness. Every track from the first to the last rocks hard and souls deep, and the band excels, perhaps not in breaking the mould, but twisting them wildly so that they can be used to jump off unto lands seldom explored. This is a fantastic album, and it feels wonderful to climb aboard and let it transport you into distant reaches. Enjoy!
Scribed by: Goro Riffs