SLAP GURU – Diagrams Of Pagan Life

Sixteentimes 2018

SLAP GURU - Diagrams Of Pagan Life

SLAP GURU –
Diagrams Of Pagan Life

Charting their trek through ether with unstruck notes, Spanish quartet embark on timewarp to remain relevant in any day and age.

It’s quite unusual for many a contemporary artist to issue an album soon after starting their career in earnest, yet for this foursome the outpouring of music was torrential, and three years into the players’ joint journey the Madrid bunch release a sophomore effort which is deliberately raw and brimful with bright ideas – set against a pitch-black skies for contrast. Of course, the group’s self-confessed ’70s influences are impossible to ignore but, having placed those in a cosmic crucible, they’re crystallizing a style of their own, surely albeit not always slowly.

Yes, the record’s twin-guitar intro “Ākāsa” may seem to conjure a dirge-like atmosphere, only such fragility – spiked with sitar – will shortly be shattered by the title track’s streamlined assault that Willy Goattin’s yelping vocals propel to the peak of rock ‘n’ roll merriment. More so, whereas instrumental “Into The Gloom” is transparent enough to progress towards fusion, “Streams On A Plain” and “My Eerie Universe” offer rather histrionic blues whose texture feels unexpectedly rich thanks Alberto Martin Valmorisco’s finely layered array of six-string techniques.

There’s space vibe in many of those pieces, floating to the surface to the relentless riff of “To Forget Is To Forgive” – the epic spanked with Javier Burgos Labeaga’s bass to alternate delicacy and scream – while the Latinesque “Contemporary Blankness” taps heavily into a hippie reverie, and “The Same Old Way (Diagrams Of The Solar System)” explores the ensemble’s stoner abilities. So although “A Daily Loser” is going for chthonic truths, its fuzz and happy beat evoke psychedelic delights, unlike “A Wornout Tool (Diagrams On A Blaze)” that has edged too close to an Iommian template to bring the band message home, despite a raga-tinged coda.

As a result, the album bears slight understatement in its groovy heart, but the record’s follow-up can be a supernova.

***3/4

November 30, 2018

Category(s): Reviews
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