Making retrodelic art is always a tricky proposition. On one hand, throwback styles like stoner rock or classic doom, a la Black Sabbath, seem to inherently evoke images of grimy '70s horror and exploitation films, The Devil Rides Out meets Cheech 'n Chong in Precinct 13. Like B-movie pizza party sleepovers, much stoner rock doesn't even necessarily have to be particularly good or fun or enjoyable. It's fun to just bang your head, while letting your imagination fill with the undead, barbarian hordes, killer robots and sexy vixens.
Stoner rock tends to be a formula that's hard to break. When working in an established style, however, digressions stand out, becoming virulent mutations of their own, changing the film quality, so to speak.
If stoner rock classics like Kyuss' Blues For The Red Sun or Sleep's Dopesmoker were some crazy early '70s horror films, spaghetti western or cannibal flick, Spectrum by Rainbow Patrol would be an indie film made in the 2000s that was either trying to be one of those early '70s movies, or else putting a modern spin on it.
This is mainly thanks to the main vocals of singing drummer Travis Arnoldussen, who overlays Rainbow Patrol's futuristic stoner prog with a sort-of blackened mantra. It's more Mayhem or Discharge than Queens Of The Stone Age, hinting at a crust/black metal/stoner/doom hybrid, like some Stone Age prophecy.
The only problem with Rainbow Patrol's recipe is that stoner rock tends to be very warm, fuzzy and analog - a sonic equivalent of those crazy '70s films, which tends to make the genre, as a whole, mellow and relaxing, while still driving and adrenalized. When you start to mix up the pallet, you start to change the feeling.
There is a certain type of post-punk vocalist that sounds somewhere between the Dead Kennedy's Jello Biafra, the Cookie Monster and Weird Al. I hear it all the time - it's this sarcastic sneer, as if to say "I don't have to know how to sing. This is PUNK ROCK!"Yeah, and I don't have to listen to your records, either. And I like atonal, abrasive noise more than most.
Don't let the reedy vocals prevent you from exploring Rainbow Patrol's psychedelic tapestry. The guitars are sweet and drifting, and the synth brings a futuristic flavor to the ritual.For the lead singer, I advise he dig deeper - that he find the emotional center of what he's singing about. If you don't care - why should we? And show something real and vulnerable! Protective irony is so 2005.
Spectrum by Rainbow Patrol is a good start from a promising band. They need to keep going, and find their own unique place in the musical universe.
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