Flying Saucer Attack - New Lands - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Flying Saucer Attack - New Lands

by Jeff Penczak Rating:4 Release Date:2017-04-14

In the liner notes to his previous, detritus-gathering compilation of early singles and Peel Session material, Dave Pearce wrote “This marks the end of FSA phase one ... when we return with phase two...who knows where the wind blows." In 2000, he elaborated in a posting to his FSA e-mail discussion list, “Y'know I always felt I should've changed the name after Chorus, cos there's a definite cutoff point there, and we knew it at the time (hence the sleevenotes); it's the point that naive exuberance left the equation really.” In 1997, fans got a taste of the new FSA with this follow up, the appropriately titled, New Lands, which boldly announced: "This is phase two”.

Unfortunately, Pearce was none too pleased with the results. At the time of its initial release, he confessed, “This just doesn't cut it at all. It was a shame; it seemed disjointed rather than focused. But you know, it wasn't only a feeling of, 'Oh, my music's all wrong.' It was also more... 'stuff.' About that time, things just weren't working upstairs in the attic, either, ha-ha-ha!" It seems that Pearce was suffering from clinical depression that ran in the family and by his own admission, “It's like I didn't have an 'approach' anymore. My sort of sense of purpose and even my musical purpose just…I dunno, the last two years have disappeared completely...Prozac probably explains why I'm still here. I remember standing up for pretty much everything up until [New Lands]; you ship them off to a label in the States or somewhere and you know that what they get is the finished thing. But that one…it was wrong."

So what exactly is “wrong” with New Lands? Well, for starters, Pearce is right when he says it’s all over the place. His guitar emulates the sound of a fast-approaching train on opener ‘Past’, as if something is stalking him…trying to catch up to him, and he proceeds to swat at ”it” with echo-laden shards of white noise which ultimately… splice directly, mid-note – into the ‘Present’, another sludgy bath of electronic pulses none too far removed from the somnambulistic mush of contemporary psychonauts, Bardo Pond, whom Dave would soon perform alongside of at the legendary “Guitar Summit” at the inaugural Terrastock Festival that April in Providence, Rhode Island. Again, the track seems half-baked and directionless.

‘Respect’ is sadly little more than an electric guitar sonic overload, which is somewhat noisier than a band of lumberjacks decimating the local forest, and otherwise buries what appears to be a rather melancholic melody. ‘Night Falls’ returns to the sonic exploration of earlier releases and seems to touch on Pearce’s fascination with krautrock noise outfits Faust and Can. There is an ambient element to the track that would work wonders if divorced from the incessant, industrial klang that both distracts and annoys the listener. Other songs also suffer from a sameness that wears thin on longer tracks like the otherwise hypnotic ‘Whole Day Sone’ and the brain-pummeling ‘The Sea’, a seven-minute onslaught of razor sharp noise that’ll put My Bloody Valentine to shame.

The finale, the 12-minute epic ‘Forever’ harkens back to Pearce’s ‘Popul Vuh’ tributes: languid, drifting shards of navel gazing segments battling the elements in the form of distortion pedals and echo chambers that frustrate even as they amaze. For once, the artist has a pretty accurate appraisal of his own work.

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