Spacin' - Total Freedom - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Spacin' - Total Freedom

by Mark Steele Rating:7 Release Date:2016-03-28

The squelching and quite frankly, heady slacker of an album has arrived from Philadelphia’s lo-fi Psych experimenters; Spacin’. It is now Total Freedom, the second album released since 2012’s Debut, Deep Thuds, and some might say it has been a long time coming. Let us refresh ourselves of the band personnel: Jason Killinger (Also of Birds of Maya) – Guitar, Vocals, Paul Sukeena – Lead Guitar, Sean Hamilton – Bass, and Eva Killinger – Drums/percussion.

What can be said about the presence on many of the 9 songs available, it appears to reveal itself as an unconventional, yet retro entity, embedded in the recording, happily coaxing the whole project along. It gives the impression it was made in a garage or basement with muddy mixing – compressed/double-tracked vocals, muffled bass, watery guitars, boxy drums. Though with added cool thrown in, they seem to have created a heady stew, parts made up of  The Rolling Stones, The Stooges, The Velvet Underground and The Doors. A twist to the mix is the topping of some early 1970’s Glam rock in the vein of David Bowie and Marc Bolan. All in all it is a psych glam hybrid. The band seems to have crafted a soundtrack that would not be out of place at one of Ken Kesey’s mid -1960’s Acid Tests. Yet, it should equally appeal to fans of LCD Soundsystem in some places.

Total Freedom’s Opener,  ‘Over Uneasy’, leads off with a Rolling Stones-esque bluesy guitar riff strutting away, then continues for a while edging in a repetitious guitar hook looped to almost infinity along a stomping mid-tempo drum beat. While phased Harmonica, reverb rich overdriven guitar lines, and plodding bass , cause chaos amidst several simultaneous solos going off at once. The menacing stingy guitar intro on ‘Kensington Real’, moves into a fuzzy bass with stingy lead guitars scratching all around. An approaching groove is heard in the distance amongst a siren, which moves into ‘Human Condition’, this is one song that fumbles itself, mutating into what could be a crowded club,collectively swaying to an early Funkadelic guitar riff getting giddy within a David Bowie/T-Rex-esque romp.

The gears change with ‘Titchy’, which moves back into a bright gritty guitar moving Rolling Stones-like, here, there seems to have been a moment where a dense haze enshrouds the album on ‘Stopping Them’, which brings along Cajun jungle rhythms into a busy gumbo soup. While at the same time it easily has enough eastern hustle to be a soundtrack for a 1970’s Hong Kong based Kung Fu film. The mood shifts totally down into staggering melancholia on ‘Bent Into Shape’ with a blurry cloud of haunting bluesy guitar arpeggios that mope around, but then it is short-lived. Without delay we hear a cut straight into some 1960’s garage grunge on  ‘Batfolk’. It unashamedly drags itself along, Enclosed is damp seedy lurking bass line and subsequent clangy detuned overdriven guitars.Just to keep it on the vibe, they have thrown in some indifferent plodding mid-tempo motoric bass and drums. If you want to hear something similar to this song, listen to an album called ‘Services’ by a band called Tempers.

There are plenty of drone guitar layers sound brightly hopeful on ‘U.S. Ruse’ it has pounding percussive guitars, not dissimilar to The Velvet Underground’s ‘I’m Waiting for The Man’, plus some further handfuls of Rolling Stones swagger. 8 minutes into the song it becomes all hazily purple and trippy, thanks to the delayed chiming guitars, which cheerfully brings us to last track ‘Total Freedom’ , it seems to repeat follow earlier track ‘Human Condition’ in style, also note it's similarity to ‘Ego-Go’ on the first album, in that it gives out some fuzzy bluesy guitar solos over a lengthy repetitive chord progression.

Total Freedom carries the same Spacin’ sound formula of foggy mixed layers and re-inventive retro psychedelia, across from the debut album Deep Thuds. Here we have a band writing catchy songs, who evidently appearing to be enjoying themselves, whilst sharing their own brand of quirky rock n roll, which seems an intensely forgotten art form these days.

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