Carl Trascher and Nathan Brown are St. Opioid. The band is back with a followup from last year's Dawn of the Millennium with Flying By The Wayside. I thought this album was a notable step up in terms of aesthetics and production. They play an interesting combination of long form psychedelia with freak folk.
The album starts with “Aviation” which out of the songs is one of the more lo-fi. It combines rolling drums, lots of Jim Morrison-esque type vocal styling which feels like the breakdown section of a song and plenty of reverb laced guitar. This is a type of song that really doesn't have a hook which I’m fine with. It’s more like a free range jam that could go on endlessly not unlike the Grateful Dead in concert.
“While You Got It” was stripped back with vocals and acoustic guitar. The folk song was a very wise choice to put after the long jam session. I liked being able to hear the vocals so clearly. “Bad Blood Don't Lie” goes back to more of a lo-fi aesthetic with the vocals being more distorted and a thinner guitar. The bass work sounded especially good on this song. The mix becomes very thin and distorted and with that brings back a kind of intensity. The song sounds like one movement of vibrating white noise with vocals occasionally coming through.
I was happy to hear such warm frequencies on “Fly On By” which is a highlight. The song contains guitar, bass and vocals and that’s all it really needed. “Names” brings more long form jam.
“Simone” is an outlier and the highlight. The vocals were crisp and I could make out the lyrics. On top of that I just loved all the unique tones and textures along with the vocal melodies. I would really love to hear more of this style from the band. The last song “And Here We Are” is a lot drum work and distant vocals that create a very loose jam.
This album felt like a big step in the right direction for the band. The next thing I think the band should tackle is dynamic and sonic consistency. There is a way for the band to get just as much clarity on those tracks with drums and squealing guitar. There is a band called Comets On Fire that I suggest the band take a listen to. They were doing something very similar to what St. Opioid is doing now with the free form acid jams and freak folk.
One thing I love is seeing a band evolve. This is a band that is doing just that and getting noticeably better in every way. I think there is more to this story and I am excited to hear where they go next. Take a listen.
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