In certain quarters of the internet there has been a real buzz surrounding the fantastic music coming from Canada..far too many bands to list here have been winning fans among the more psychedelically inclined music lovers. So it should come as no surprise to hear that this truly great album has been fashioned by another brilliant Canadian band. Low Orbit have already graced these pages...way back in Feb of last year when their self-titled album was released on Pink Tank (read the review here)...and what a damn fine album it was too. With 'Spacecake' the band have continued the cosmic exploration that they started with their debut....mixing the heavy with the psychedelic to great effect and further hammering home the fact that Canada is proving itself to be a major hub in the music world.
'Dead Moon' opens the album with a the same space effect beloved of so many sci-fi movies under which some cosmic guitar wails, slowly getting louder and then the track proper kicks in. Roiling Sabbathian riffs and crashing drums soundtrack this huge slice of psychedelic doom...it's hard and it's heavy...really heavy...as heavy as fuck! There is a moment where the solid doom riffs give way to some wonderful heavy psych guitar...excellent stuff! 'Planet X' continues the sci-fi theme and is heralded by a big, throbbing bassline before some more ace fuzzy guitar kicks in. This track has far more ebb and flow than the previous 'Dead Moon'...things veer from the doom to the stoner and back again, neat little breakdowns in which the guitar kicks out some fabulous heavy psych and then the megalithic doom riffs return. Doom can sometimes be a very 'samey' genre...the tracks start and continue in the same vein and an whole album can be somewhat....tedious. However Low Orbit have more than enough about them to avoid this, in fact I would go so far as to say that they are not a doom band but a band who incorporate elements of doom in their music. This track is an example; there are the huge, megalithic doom riffs but these are used alongside some fuzzy psych/stoner passages and flashes of heavy psych. 'Planet X' is a great track and one that encapsulates what this band are about. 'Shades Of Neptune' opens with some fantastic heavy psych riffage, soaked in fuzz and reverb and is perfectly balanced by the equally reverbed vocals. The track as a whole is clever...the sheer heaviness is almost disguised but on really listening it is huge....speaker shakingly huge. 'Venus' I think is my favourite track on the album - more doomy heavy psych that is interspersed with some top class psychedelic guitar that gives it all a wonderful spacey feel.....these guys are good!! 'Lunar Lander' is another track deeply immersed in the psychedelic, the guitars trace colourful patterns across another landscape full of dystopian visions, all narrated by strident and impassioned vocals..great stuff. Album closer 'Machu Picchu' starts with some wonderful pulsing space effects over which the guitar chimes with a slow and (relatively) delicate melody. The atmosphere builds and builds, reverb and echo adding an almost ethereal dimension to proceedings, and it all becomes heavier and heavier. There is a real ebb and flow vibe to the track...it builds and builds until you think all hell is going to break lose but instead it slows and quietens, the space filled with more lysergic infused guitar. A classy track to close a very classy album.
'Spacecake' is a great album...taking the riffs from the proto-metal and heavy psych of the seventies and artfully adding the sheer downtuned density of doom to produce something special. Doom and psych have long had a symbiotic relationship but this album inextricably links them...a bond strong but almost undetectable such is the seamless, organic nature of the music. As I mentioned above, it would be doing the band a disservice to class them as just a doom band...there is sooo much more to their music and all played with skill and verve...a great album. The vinyl is via Pink Tank once again and pre-orders are up on their website here and these is also a download and CD version that can be purchased via the Low Orbit Bandcamp page here