Celebrating the cerebral: the lucky seventh outing for a shamelessly psychedelic band.
It’s all about optimism – on any level. Effervescent musically, the real life events behind this album make it poignant. It was finished when Bobby Sutliff – a long-time band’s associate who’s been sharing guitar, bass and keyboard duties with leader Ron Sanchez since 2009’s “Fires Which Burnt Brightly” – was in a coma after a car accident, and now the record sounds as a challenge in the face of fate. And in the face of time, too, as the fluid collective from Montana reached the point, after a 25-year-long run, where the present comes firmly stitched to the preceding decades. That factor hardened by the participation of the erstwhile ATOMIC ROOSTER drummer Ric Parnell and RADIO BIRDMAN guitarist Deniz Tek (working simultaneously on his own bleak "Detroit"), the result is a polychromatic dozen of songs which take one by the throat with the serious crunch of “Take Me With You When You Go” and release with the “In Search Of Connie Companion” sly swirl, packing a whole spectrum of emotions in between.
Most of the pieces on offer could have been brewed back in 1967 and join the line of “Sgt. Pepper” and “Satanic Majesties,” as the finely embroidered hypnagogic drone of “Small Circles” or the enveloping pseudo-backward flow of “Cardboard Army” suggest, yet it’s all well-balanced here. The transparent “Morningside Dream” and twangy merriness under the prayer in “Restless Nights, Many Dreams” are juxtaposed with the anthemic soar of the piano-driven “My Own Skin” and the lysergic dirge of “As The Crows Fly” throwing the “sophisticated beggars” message to the deep end, over to the heavier harmonies of “Manager Of Time.” A certain degree of conceptuality keeping it together, the melodies might not be immediate but they slowly and surely crawl into the listener’s psyche so, even though the album as a whole outstays its welcome a bit, it retains a pull for one to return – to turn up later and stay.