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- Zero Pac A.D. by Alien Ballroom
8/10 Mike Staff review, 15 November 2012
Agitated Records previously released a very limited and out-there LP from these lads under the name Koolaid (Global Tyranny), but having decided that there’s a surfeit of bands using the ‘Koolaid’ moniker they’re henceforth switching to the most psychedelic Alien Ballroom nomenclature.
On the first side of this LP there’s a single lengthy jam with plenty of peaceful bong vibes going on. Think Carlton Melton, Sylvester Anfang, Gnod, Hawkwind on tranquilisers...it’s a heady weed-soaked repetitive psych-rock hippie stew with a surprisingly uplifting ending (are those trumpets?) and a pleasingly physical feel to its somewhat tribal grooves. It’s perhaps a little more straight psych rock than their confusing debut but this allows them to head into more focused hypno-psych territory to excellent effect.
On the flip there’s six shorter songs which seem to mix elements of pastoral psych-pop songwriting with a Heads-like love of all things noisy, with boomy drums and out-there repeato weirdness mixed with moments of quite coherent songwriting that often has a lo-fi post-punky feel, shades of Joy Division. It’s all quite rough around the edges and at times the playing is a bit loose but that just adds to its charm in a way, and the mixture of psychedelic pop and tribal, churning weirdness is a winning one, particularly when they break from a storm of repeato noise to introduce a warm synth-sitar groove in the Byrds-esque ‘Ringstone Round’.
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