Saturday, 23 February 2013

Spanish Moss - Kelp: EP Review

Spanish Moss marks an occasion where I really should have listened to my wife, who said I would love this band, I dilly-dallied for some reason but she wasn't wrong.

Kelp is billed as an EP, but the six songs total over 35-minutes and it feels worthy of an LP-status. The psychedelic rock masterclass opens with Fuzz Puzzle, a sprawling monster clocking in at close to 10-minutes, Ian Caddick's guitar engulfs the listener in a napalm of solos, this is one of the most powerful performances committed to tape. At times it sounds like the wheels are about to fall off but the band keep things together while vocalist Tom Madden's reverb-laden vocals vie for attention in amongst the flames.

Patrick Haight's production is spot-on (forgive the pun), recorded in January 2012 (released August 2012) on a Tascam 388 to produce that proper old-school garage rock feel. Deliberately going for a retro sound and influence is a bridge some bands get stuck on, but while they wear influences on their sleeve, the quality of the songs smash through any inclination for simple nostalgia.

The other stand-out on the record for me is the penultimate track, Witch Rings, with another snaking riff before a break-out into Dark Side of the Moon-era Pink Floyd (an obvious and lazy comparison, but you will know exactly which bit when you hear it), then pummeling us with that riff again. The band blast out the chorus repeating "always remember, always remember..." not as a simple lyric, but as a demand, you will remember this sonic assault! As the guitar screams to a crescendo, we seam into the final track, Catherine's Last Trip, treated to a final guitar flurry to leave our minds blown and battered.



1. Fuzz Puzzle 09:47
2. Chemical Catherine 05:32
3. Vril Loop 01:52
4. Space Drugs 07:11
5. Witch Rings 07:38
6. Catherine's Last Trip 03:34

Spanish Moss are:
Ian Caddick (lead guitar)
Tom Madden (rhythm guitar/vocals)
Tav Palumbo (drums/vocals)
Jesse Perez (bass)

Kelp is available on vinyl (which I have, despite not currently owning a record player...) from Spot On Sound and cassette from Burger Records and Under the Gun, it can also be downloaded for a bargain $3 on the band's bandcamp page.

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