Hotel Wrecking City Traders are Australia’s answer to bands like The Cosmic Dead or Hey Colossus: big, brash psychedelic rock madness that gets seriously heavy without taking itself too seriously. Passage to Agartha is their first double album, and they use the extra space to travel to space. Double LP on Cardinal Fuzz and Evil Hoodoo.
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Further validating my theory that the only good lengths for an album are less than ten or over seventy minutes, Hotel Wrecking City Traders make a destructive behemoth shaped around nothing more than a good, long stretch of the arms. With shoegaze more in focus than the psychedelia, this record meanders and churns through a story as pretty, ugly and long as the extended LOTR cuts.
Being that they’re a Cardinal Fuzz affiliate, this record has plenty of hypnotic driving power, but it feels like the band have tried to seek out something a little different this time: the wannabe ecstasy of their distorted guitars and near-miss melodies reminds me of Deafheaven on their first record, or *shels in a particular moment of post-rock beautification, seeking the maximum of whatever at every possible corner. “Kanged Cortex” has a lovely, revolving structure in which the chord progression almost shines but instead spits, the heavily treated guitars sounding as gorgeous as sludge ever can.
It’s psych rock that keeps you wanting to listen to it through sheer loveliness, the sparklier dynamics wrestling with the simple, driving grind of the record in an actually kinda enthralling re-up of a genre so obsessed with inducing a trance it often forgets what kind of trance. This here is the one -- it’s over seventy minutes long and fully worth wasting your time on. The best of its kind this year.
8/10 gbar Customer review, 2nd December 2017
Comprising of six tracks and clocking in around ninety minutes, to say that this is epic could be considered a huge understatement. Combining post-metal, sludge, doom, drone and psychedelic rock, these two Australian brothers that make up the band will keep you focused and engaged throughout its epic space voyage with 10+ minute tracks such as ‘Quasar’ and ‘Kanged Cortex’ (the longest of which, ‘Oroshi’, being 22 minutes long) full of riffs, noise and just full-on heavy rock, with each track sounding more crushing than the last. While a ninety-minute album may be off-putting for some, you cannot help but find yourself lost in space thanks to the different styles of music that the band performs on here.
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