It’s hard enough for musicians to make any sort of living normally. But COVID made touring impossible, then finally bands like Stoned Jesus and Somali Yacht Club had some awesome tours lined up, which had to be canceled because of a military invasion of their country. I’m not one to discuss politics, I avoid the news like the plague, maybe that’s not the best simile to use these days, but the war in Ukraine is horrific and should not be ignored. I wish for peace to return to that part of the world quickly and the senseless killing to end.
‘Not even an army at our door is gonna stop us from releasing the first single from the upcoming LP The Space‘. Somali Yacht Club had to postpone a tour with Mars Red Sky, but they aren’t quitting in these dark times. Instead, they are releasing an outstanding album to bring some light to the smoke-filled skies. Six songs layered with delay, reverb, fuzz, spacey vocals, and an underlying heaviness creating a soundscape that could bring hope into a hopeless era.
The first single the band mentions earlier also happens to be the first song off the new LP. Silver starts off the album in a tremendous way. It’s the type of intro that when you hit play in the car and forgot you were jamming out to Elephant Tree the day before at max volume, you swerve a little from startlement. I know that’s oddly specific, but I promise that didn’t happen to me… The explosive energy is welcome and maintained throughout the song. I was expecting a crescendo to start the album, but this was much better.
Pulsar starts with a groovy fuzz bass riff by Artur Savluk as the final notes of Silver ring out. When the drums and guitar enter, I get an immediate King Buffalo vibe, especially off that bands more recent releases. I love the tremolo effect that helps create tension with the building rhythm. The powerful music subsides as the airy vocals enter. Their use of dynamics is impeccable and the song weaves through tranquil and massive soundscapes with ease.
Obscurum is up next. The trio of musicians have solidified me as a lifelong fan with their melodic music but, in Obscurum I’m drawn to its droning aspect. The simple yet effective down strokes of guitar building a wall of sound with long-drawn-out spacey vocals layered on top. The drums hold the beat with enough fills to keep it interesting but not get in the way. All this leads up to a solo for a colossal ending, this leads effortlessly into the track called Echo Of Direction.
Six songs layered with delay, reverb, fuzz, spacey vocals, and an underlying heaviness creating a soundscape that could bring hope into a hopeless era…
I knew by the title I would love it because my obsession I mentioned earlier has a lot to do with the echoing clean tones of Ihor Pryshliak who I interviewed as part of my In Search of Tone series. He delivers on this song. I could listen to those notes on an infinite delay, and it will never get old. The mix of the clean delay and the ruthless fuzz on hits both extremes of the sonic spectrum and is a contender for my favorite Somali Yacht Club song.
I know I talk a lot about dynamics, especially in volume and intensity of playing, but dynamics in tempo isn’t something I’ve come across a lot. Or maybe I just overlook it. The next song Gold utilizes tempo to calm things down. The upbeat energy in the beginning slows to a snail’s pace by end. Impressive control by Lesyk Mahula on drums, who drives the song initially with complexity, then switches gears slowing down while remaining interesting.
Alas, we have reached the closing song. Luckily, Momentum clocks in at twelve and a half minutes so there is still plenty of music to absorb. Like any good closer, this song encompasses all the elements of the previous songs on the album. Through the twelve minutes, the song takes many turns and some of my favorite moments are the more serene parts that can put you in a trance. The slow repeating melody allows your mind to wander and almost meditate. Not for too long though because the intense music will break you from that cycle and take you on another journey. This happens a few times throughout the song and each part adds different elements of sound to keep things fresh. The strong finish fades out to nothing, and you’re left hoping a fourth album is already on the works.
I was excited to see Somali Yacht Club releasing a third album. I like that the first album is called The Sun, followed by The Sea and now we will have The Space which releases on February 22nd through Season Of Mist, who also reissued the first two. Even through years of struggle and now more recent tragedy, music prevails, and I will again leave you with the powerful words of the band because I want it to sink in. ‘Not even an army at our door is gonna stop us from releasing the first single from the upcoming LP The Space. Enjoy.’
Scribed by: Josh Schneider