Sunday, 14 September 2014

REVIEW: The Asteroid #4 - 'The Asteroid #4' (Bad Vibrations Records)

As someone with a respectable knowledge of alternative music, it's surprising that it's taken 16 years for me to discover the California-based outfit The Asteroid #4, and it's also likely that many reading this article won't have experienced their music yet.

So it's a good job that their new self titled album found their way onto my radar, since it is something of a treat.

Their eighth full length since their formation back in 1998 is a diverse record that's linked together by a psychedelic thread, taking various genres to far out territories. 

Apparently it blends the space-rock of their debut with the variety of their later work, but since this is the first Asteroid #4 record I've heard, that is something I can't offer any comment on. However, what is apparent on this record is the sound of the kind of confidence and versatility that comes with experience, while there are also the bright sparks of vitality that you would usually expect from newly formed bands. A newfound sense of purpose is what fuels this album, which seems to have been self titled to represent a definitive work. 

After opening with the Eastern psychedelica and sleepy country on the sitar-heavy haze of 'The River', they blast into 'Rukma Vimana''s dark, heavy motorik rock and roll drone, bringing to mind Black Rebel Motorcycle Club colliding with Cream and Hawkwind. The radiant stand out 'Ghosts Of Dos Erres' moves onwards like some sort of Neu!-Ride hybrid built on intertwining guitars, immersive synth patterns and double tracked drums, before another highlight arrives with the solemnly majestic beauty of 'The Windmill Of The Autumn Sky', a lovely helping of Americana flavoured dreampop that exudes a harmonious warmth and a compellingly heartfelt elegance.
After the deep Indian vibes of the hypnotic, snake-like 'Mount Meru' provides a trippy interlude between side 1 and 2 of the record, 'Back Of Your Mind' offers the pacy, eerie shake and rattle of abrasive, spaced-out desert rock, but it's outclassed by the blissed-out euphoria of the magnificent 'Ropeless Free Climber', a 60s-shaded daydream that provides another strong reason to investigate this collection of songs. After the brief sitar and tabla instrumental 'Ode To Cosmo' comes the motorik post-punk prog ball of energy that is the raucous 'Revolution Prevail', and the gorgeous acoustic instrumental 'Yuba', a calming, picturesque musical sunset that closes the album in bright, wondrous fashion.

Delving into country, folk, krautrock and shoegaze, a much welcome sense of variety allows the psychedelic sound of 'The Asteroid #4' to take the listener on an enjoyable, rewarding and often blissful trip. 7.9/10

Out September 23

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