Esoteric Antenna / Moonjune 2013
Free and easy journey to the other side and back, with no memento but a lot of momentum.
For all their crooked history, when was the last time that this legendary band rocked? Here, they do – in style. Five years down the road since "Steam", the freight train of what is basically the "Softs" line-up deliver their masterpiece which, finally, casts not a glance back but flashes firmly forward. The quartet may nod to the SM past with their airy, mesmeric reading of Hugh Hopper’s “Kings & Queens”, yet when Roy Babbington bass cuts through Theo Travis’ Fender Rhodes in the title track and the latter sneaks in a sax tune, that deserves to adorn a James Bond movie, a “here and now” suspense unfurls for John Etheridge’s to crawl predatorily over John Marshall’s delicate drum march and soar solo in the short “Kitto”.
Out the window and into the charming chaos, “Fallout” hangs on roiling reeds, processed percussion and tense echo which crystallize into a catchy, CRIMSO-craving groove, before “Black And Crimson” explores the guilty pleasure edge of fusion. And if the ethereal “Voyage Beyond Seven” drifts onto a vibrant new age terrain, there’s also blues chug in the serenity that is realized fully in “Pie Chart”, a slow sequel of sorts to “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, and given a heavy weight in “Pump Room” and, once in a while, in the twangy haze of “Green Cubes”, that sets the rattle back on the railtrack. Monumentally moving and genuinely rocking, the legacy is so palpable here that it’s actually gripping, and with a classical freshness of it all there’s nothing to prove anymore and no reason for the band not to get rid of the last part of their name.