Mugstar / Cosmic Dead - Split 12"

by Andy Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2014-12-22

Christmas; the time of year to gather the family round the table, get in touch with old friends for that all important pint of ale and to compulsively hum those overly familiar seasonal songs. It’s a time that brings people together. It’s in this spirit of coming-together that I introduce this rather wonderful split record from Mugstar and The Cosmic Dead.

The record represents two of psych-rocks finest instrumental acts coming together for an end of year celebratory bash, and it’s all happening in your living room. Thankfully, they’ve skipped the seasons cloying sentimentality altogether and gone straight for the festive jugular with two lengthy slabs of psychedelic mind-fuckery.

Mugstar have been blowing minds with their pulsating Krautrock instrumentals since 2003 and show no sign of decline during the epic ‘Breathing Mirror’. The track ploughs through its first half with all the groove-ridden motorik beats, inventive guitar playing, and psychedelic gusto we’ve come to expect from Liverpool’s finest psych-rock devotees. It has to be said that the rhythm-section of this band is fucking incredible. Everything slows down into a druggy, low-swung swing for the latter half before gradually emerging for a satisfyingly freaky conclusion.

The Cosmic Dead has been one of my favourite acts for some time now. Releasing their self-titled debut album back in 2011, the Glaswegians haven’t put a foot wrong since. The imaginatively titled ‘Fukahyoocastulah’ proves to be the ideal companion to Mugstar’s impressive contribution. The track shows a slightly more restrained side to the band, less explosive aural-assault and more subtle, persistent, hazy groove. It’s a strung-out, groove-led and, at times, incredibly trippy piece of music. It’s like your mum snuck some ‘special mushrooms’ into this year’s nut roast.  

Both bands are more than worthy of your time and both warrant further investigation if you’re new to the fold. What we have in Mugstar/Cosmic Dead is a pretty awesome introduction to two mighty fine UK psych bands. All of this comes courtesy of one of the country’s most impressive small labels, Sheffield’s Evil Hoodoo.

Go on; fill someone’s Christmas stocking with a little bit of festive freak-out this year.

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