Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Is it possible to be both recidivist and derivative at the same time? In the case of Seven That Spells the answer is yes, totally, without apology, and fuck you if you think this somehow makes the music less enjoyable. This band's major (and perhaps only, from the sound of it) influence is Acid Mothers Temple and they wear that influence so proudly on their sleeve that not only could you not tell this record from an AMT release if you heard them "earfolded," they've gone ahead and brought in Kawabata Makototo himself to shred all over this mindmelter of an album. This is a band that is obviously completely unconcerned with identity or how they're received amongst the psychedelic community; the only thing that really matters here is plugging in, dropping out and laying waste to everything in front of you with an arsenal of screaming guitar effects. It's a guitar orgy, a loveletter to the sonic capabilities (and limitations) of the electric guitar. I haven't heard wah pedals suffer so much abuse since Matthew Bower dropped acid in a basement and recorded "IIIrd Gatekeeper." It's total sound spasms. The two guitars are panned hard left and hard right and sound so much alike in every respect (phrasing, tone, speed, accouterments) it's impossible to tell which one's Kawabata and which one's the guy who wishes he were Kawabata. It's all noise and improv here. Much like AMT a short riff will be introduced and the rest of the band will jump in and beat it down until it becomes reduced to one gaping chord, bleeding fresh, wounded psychedelia from its soon to be festering pulpy laceration. Only on the second track does the band show any hint of compositional thought, wherein the main motif is an eerie but rockin' Slavic/Eastern modal hybrid that explodes into a garden outer-fringe amplifier clipping and pseudo-heroic guitar, replete with all manner of whooshing echo and synth blurb. If Cotton Casino where still in AMT she'd probably be getting a royalty check from these guys. The only other reprieve is the final track, a 15 minute suite of delayed-wah pedal air pushing, like a vacuum in reverse, the sound of void nullifying while someone takes a ridiculous "alone in the practice space" rock solo over the top of it all. The hubris of this album is beyond belief, but that isn't to say it's bad. Quite the contrary. It's a head-nodding, zone-out drug-hazed affair of the highest order. I'm just not sure whether it's from Romania (as Seven That Spells supposedly is) or Japan.

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