Review Summary: Fact: if you don't like it, you're just not cool enough.
In a time where every new successful sub-genre and revivalist movement just has to be labeled "hip" and "trendy," Rangda are breaking out of that modern fad, and going back to a time where things weren't about trumps, harps, and Balearic house; they're going back to what's "cool
" and they're damn proud of it. False Flag
is a release which transports you back to the days of drug-addled psychedelia rather than forward into a new take on eighties synthpop classics. In a time where everything is about vocals, they've skimped out on that "necessity" and they're doing just fine without an egotistical phallus taking the reigns. He probably couldn't handle it anyway, because even though Rangda are cool, they're still experimental. However, they're still too "cool" to think they're better than you. They're too "cool" to be "hip." And best of all, they're so "cool" that half of their debut full-length album is improvised.
Yeah, it's that
You see, each even-numbered track is structured, as opposed to their odd-numbered, improvised tracks, which exemplify the band's psychedelic tinge. But this isn't to say that Rangda don't place as much compositional effort in their improvisations as they do with their melodic, organized pieces. No, there seems to be such a telepathic link between the band members that it's incredibly difficult to believe that half of the tracks on here were made spur-of-the-moment. This rings true on the album's opener, "Waldorf Hysteria," which makes use of rhythmic and percussive ‘freak outs' in such a way that it still seems like an actual song rather than a blaring, two minute jam session. But, as previously stated, nothing about Rangda's sound is black-and-white. Throughout False Flag
, they show disparity, toying with a medley of sounds, rather than just walls of cantankerous 70's nostalgia.
Through the course of the record, the percussion work is reminiscent of jazz, a component that is in stark contrast to their musicianship, which docks in somewhere between the psychedelic and experimental realms of Sun City Girls and Golden Retriever. They utilize strange sounds and sweeping guitar dynamics to enhance their psychedelic flair, as seen on the sprawling, fifteen-and-a-half-minute coda, "Plain of Jars", which also hints at a mischievous world influence. But, the band casts off their almost-Ragas and psychedelia in favor of a more timbral sound on tracks such as "Bull Lore", an ambient ‘60s pop and alternative country hybrid.
But the most distinguishing factor of Rangda's music is how accessible the mash of influences is. Because let's face it, who'd expect a project featuring members from Six Organs of Admittance and Sun City Girls would be able to produce such a coherent, accessible debut (especially when they've been a trio for like what, six months now)? Perhaps it's some sort of ineffable spiritual link between the members of Rangda that allowed such an excellent debut to come out? Personally, it's irrelevant; at the end of the day it's about results, and boy does Rangda deliver!