Savanna - Aurora

by Miz DeShannon Rating:9 Release Date:2013-04-19

Portugal is most reknowned for golf holidays and, erm, well I can't think of much other than cultural exhanges through university. But seriously, it's a pretty beautiful country, actually. A friend who lives outside of a tiny village on a cliffside overlooking the sea tells tales of the savanna, the skies, the amazing things he finds there, and, knowing what he experiences on a day-to-day basis, I can see why this album has suddenly popped up from the shadows, if the guys in this band are surrounded by mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, inspirational views and organic, natural sounds. These are the same experiences as you'd find Sleepy Sun, The Black Angels and Pink Mountaintops having, and they're in the same game - psych prog.

Some psych bands have really relied on lots of distortion and reverb to make their sound lately, but here Savanna have been fairly ambitious and stuck with the basics, which makes Aurora all very Pink Floyd, and definitely prog. Even the rareness of lyrics screeches Pink Floyd, especially when they do appear in 'Run', alongside a bit of wah-wah and again on 'Rest', an edgy and barely harmonious track with growling voices and a really heavy rock riff. Each track runs across every aspect of the psych/prog genre, and also flows seamlessly into the next. The album could easily have been broken down into three or four more tracks.

My favourite track blend, 'Curtains Of', continues seamlessly into 'Death'. Just as reading the track names suggest, they are part of the same piece. The length of tracks becomes irrelevant, the change between is merely a thing which happens on your counter, it'd be unnoticeable if listening to this album on vinyl. 'Death' finishes with a low-sombre hum, something you'd find on a doom release, and the opposite of the tinkly twinkling percussion, heavenly "Ooooooh aaaaah" and dreaamy old-fashioned synths of opening 'Aurora'.

Only a slow in tempo or the introduction of a new instrument tells you've moved on. Basically, Aurora is one long, beautiful and incredibly well thought through soundscape, hugely trippy in places, but as much an intricate piece of musicianship as it is a psych phenomenon. And the phenomenon is made when you reach the middle of the album, with 'Rise', which does just that; soaring top-end guitar parts, a touch of reverb just to make it more floaty, with crashing cymbals. It's all such a massive space ride.

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