For a while now the new cool thing in the indie music scene is to sound as seventies psych rock as you possibly can. Sometimes you can even get away with it and have critics fall all over themselves trying to praise you like you re-invented the fucking wheel or something.
This happened to be the case for Tame Impala, one of the bands that Seattle solo psych rocker Nick Waters, who performs under the moniker Cranefield, cited as an influence to his latest record Alterspectrum. Seriously I don’t know what all the fuss is about with Tame Impala, though I can imagine it has a lot to do with the music business and its need to advertise the merchandise and make money off what is currently popular. Kudos to you music business.
Whenever I listen to a band like Alterspectrum it’s usually as background noise. But not in such a way that it’s only relegated to the background but it is much the same as buying a piece of art. You walk past a bunch of it until something makes you stop in front of it and take a closer look.
That’s pretty much the way I listened to Alterspectrum in a way. Anyone with enough sense can make a psychedelic sounding record. You just wiggle the controls until it sounds astral, add a few synths and some wah wah guitars and click drum track and voila, you’ve got yourself a psych record. Just put it over there with the others.
As far as Alterspectrum is concerned there isn’t much to separate any of the songs from the others though that’s true of a lot of psych stuff. The opener “World of Mirrors” is awash in classic steely guitars and a pretty groovy bass line. It’s pretty textbook stuff for the genre. Next up is “Stains” which gets a little more synth-poppy and radio friendly. Though again it seems like more a carbon copy.
Despite this redundancy there are still bright spots on Alterspectrum like the ear-catching silvery slow grooves on “Fall Asleep” and the short and sweet “Downstream” and most especially the gypsy-like “Castle Shade.”
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