The Asteroid #4 - The Asteroid #4

by Lawrence Prigg Rating:8 Release Date:2014-08-12

Sounding as if a dimensional portal has been opened to an alternate universe with only the intention to allow musicians firmly rooted in psychedelic rock from the 1960s access to modern recording technology, The Asteroid # 4's eponymous new release is an interesting cross-pollination between the band's initial 1998 full-length release (Introducing the Asteroid #4) and the one it recorded a decade later (These Flowers of Ours), mixing together the heavily-processed guitar work which characterized the first with the late-60s folkish psychedelia that became the most universal hallmark of its descendant. 

No other band straddling this genre has worked so hard toward developing a sustained, explosive release of heavily-atmospheric guitars run through every available effects-pedal, merging a retro-psychedelic   sound with a shoegazing ethos and augmenting it with a number of eclectic instruments associated  with the decade which originally pioneered the context behind their sound, or, conversely, could later deploy those guitars within a jangling, heavily reverbed tone that belonged both inside and outside the level bubble of contemporary recording technology, lying more within the confines of production techniques available to groups specializing in heavily-amplified folk-rock during that decade.               

  Both of the releases referenced above contain the band's strongest  work.  Introducing... teased out striking, singular tunes which, at their best, either mined explosive crescendos or created a richly saturated texture, while "These Flowers ..." , powered by soaring harmonies and reverbed,  catchy interwoven melodies, is easily the band's most cohesive recording.

What you'll hear on The Asteroid #4 is a hybrid which unites what worked most successfully on those releases. Several of the tracks mine a deeply mantric groove, whether explosive ('Rukma Vimana', 'Back of Your Mind', and 'Revolution Prevail'), somewhat spectral and heavily atmospheric ('Ghosts of Dos Erres', 'Mount Meru', and the short tone-poem 'Ode to Cosmo'), or mining an eternal cosmic, folkish vibe ('Ropeless Free Climber' and 'Yuba'). Both 'The River' and 'The Windmills of Autumn' contain instrumentation anchored within the band's more pastoral sound, and fail to deliver as strongly as the other cuts. 

Nevertheless, this is a strong, polished work of psychedelic rock which delivers moments of sustained explosiveness, gorgeous, jangling melody and passages of sheer transcendental beauty. This eponymous release extends and refines what has worked best with the band's sound over the course of a sometimes uneven recording career, and should be snagged as soon as it becomes available, so try and make some room in your universe for The Asteroid #4.

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