On the way from Northern California towards event horizon, cosmic travelers beam reports down to mortal coil.
Five years into their existence, the ever-fluctuating line-up of this melody-bound crew that American multi-instrumentalist Xeff Scolari gathered around himself to guide free spirits to celestial realm finally make waves on a scale not a lot of contemporary proggers deem rational – but there’s no reason to narrow one’s scope when dreams beckon. Here’s a space-rock odyssey that maintains an all-safe distance from the templates set by Messrs. Brock and Allen, the four suites of the ensemble’s third full-length platter taking the listener on an emotionally expansive, yet temporally concise, psychedelic trip which, unlike many a similar trek, doesn’t favor a hurry.
Hung on hypnotic, rather than motorik, rhythms to deepen the album’s pseudo-dystopian concept, “My Satellite” may seem to widen its orbit from the doomy roll and wordless vocalese of opener “Liftoff” onward, to where real adventures lie, while, in reality, the record’s sci-fi drama, stitched together with snippets of interstellar comm, will welcome more entertaining angles along the way, landing on warm, hayseed harmonies of “Come On, Rocket” further on down the line. So if, fueled by an infectious riff, the retrofuturistic pop of “X.exe” revvs to the stars to let Ryan Wilson’s guitar and James Terris’ synthesizers rave around Scolari’s sweet voice, before the title track bares a harder edge and vaster landscape, the stately “The Only Star” offers ruminative twang for piano and bass to fathom the depth of it all until the Mellotron ripples inform the piece’s drift with a memorable momentum.
It might get electrically theatrical in the flamenco-seared sway of “Solitude” and in the cosmic folk of “My Shuttle” that the strings of Xeff’s mandolin anchor to the ground, but the heavy “Stranded” strives to defy gravity on the wings of serrated sound and the wobbly “Synchronizing” shuffles over the increasingly solid groove, inviting the acoustically tinged “Eject” to rock and roll in style. And it doesn’t matter that the slow strum of “Little Moon” feels a little fatigued – this number is a perfect closing call for the album which would dare to go beyond the obvious. The album balancing on the brink of greatness,