Autumn Electric 2015
Seattle troupe tackle terrestrial troubles with cosmic conscience and get rid of their own well-grounded concepts.
Tango’s not a regular rock tempo, yet that’s the surprising motion this quintet demonstrate on “Skyscraper Steeples!” and, thus, anchor the approximation of people reaching upwards while losing their roots by destroying our planet. That’s the defining theme – not melodically, although recurring lines provide a nice texture to such a tapestry – of “Star Being Earth Child” whose lack of punctuation expands the album’s title interpretation. On the surface of it, there’s an alien meeting a human kid and setting an environmental agenda; but then, as the strings-sweeped “She Has A Supernova” implies, the unnatural death of terra may (or may not) have gravely astronomical repercussions.
Yet in musical terms sci-fi doesn’t go further, as “Infinite Islands Engulfed In The Silence” introduces dramatic pop pulse for Michael Trew’s tremulous voice to wrap around it before Max Steiner’s guitar welcomes a prog vista into the context, and the real action begins. There’s a slow-burn wonder in “Someday I Will Find Out Who You Are” and if its flute-flying sentiment suggests here’s a sleeping beauty, “Into The Grasp (Don’t Disturb The Sleepers)” sharpens the riffs but sweetens the bark with a catchy, if nervous, chorus that mellows and levitates thanks to Naomi Adele Smith’s synthesizers’ swell. A tidal experience gets resolved in the finale of “Perpetual Waves” where acoustic strum ebbs and flows, floating into serenity, but the sax and piano spike “Daddy, You’re Building The Atomic Bomb” with a merry kind of desperation, albeit funereal boogie it isn’t, as the mellifluous dirge is reserved for the 9-minute “Virgil” that quickly replaces sadness with a delightful disco delirium.
And, of course, there’s the way out offered in the swirl of “Gather The Star Beings” whose dance drives hope home casting the ensemble’s art-folk leanings to the side – no stylistic limit for them now, only bright future.