Review: Leisure Birds – Globe Master

(LP, Moon Glyph, 2012)

The Minneapolis based “sci fi garage” unit Leisure Birds brings back the hope in the existence and future of psychedelic rock. I’ve lost much track of this genre – is it because I leaned more towards experimental electronic solo projects or assorted ambient-drone alienated haze? Or is it rather because there isn’t really that much psychedelic rock these days and it just decided to kind of fade away, or rather mutate into more peripheral subgenres? The answer is ambigious, but it’s definitely harder to come by a satisfying piece of psych rock than a satisfying piece of drone or mutant techno (see 100% Silk for that kind of stuff).

The album is ripe with references to oldschool (or maybe rather mid-school?) science fiction genre, down to the 60’s/70’s cosmic imagery, filled with space rock sound effects, although recorded with a hint of lo-fi love for garage fuckery. The final mix is somewhat cavernous and heavily echoed, especially the drums – kinda reminds me of heavy krautrock of German Oak, but with a clearly futuristic edge. And no recordings of Hitler speeches, thank God. There are definitely vocals here,t too – the sort of soaring, angelic vocals you’d expect from a 1960’s worship band.

The songs on the album vary in style between droning, thumping good ol’ hippie jams, drenched in fuzz and reverb, to some more proggy elements, like the snaking, Pink Floydian organ solo on “Egyptian Ring” and even something that sounds like the more psychedelic spectrum of the post-punkers (“Guardians of Time”). The music is usually mellow, without the tendency to jump into wild, flailing guitar solos, more often focusing on atmosphere and “cosmic” effects. Sometimes, the sounds will slow down to become an almost ambient soundscapes, like on beautiful “Rediscovery of Man”, which echoes some most mystic moments of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

Leisure Birds’ “Globe Master” is a highly entertaining, hazy, fuzzy journey packed full of space rock action, some prog rock delicatessen and, most importantly, drugged up sound which works as a wayback machine, transporting us to the prehistoric future.

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