Review Summary: Instrumental Psychedelic Progressive Rock done right
Formed in 2003, the psychedelia influenced Croatian born Seven That Spells has been churning out progressive, noisy instrumental soundscapes that span a rather unique quartet of saxophone, drums, guitar and bass. Sax leads and futuristic drum prowess have become a signature staple of the bands style and nowhere else in the groups catalogue is their sound more refined and realized than on Future Retro Spasm
Future Retro Spasm’s
song structures are predominantly linear but the compositions rarely fail to bring about surprising twists and coils, more often than not reaching climactic apexes and satisfying resolutions. Nearly all the tracks feature meandering, repetitive guitar lines that implement and showcase the insane virtuosic performances of both drummer Stanislav Muskinja and saxophonist Lovro Zlopas. Muskinja steals the show here to put it mildly. His abilities as a drummer are not to be taken lightly as he weaves between technically elaborate fills and beats that never fail to make the straightforward rhythms interesting as well as enthralling.
The Saxophone indulges in sporadic lead lines throughout the albums six tracks with the guitars oftentimes serving as soundscape layering’s and are primarly more akin to keyboards than guitar, an interesting take on the instrument that adds substantial diversity to the commonly homogenous mix. While guitarist Niko Potocnjak primarly takes a back seat he does shine with sparse but effective moments of fretbury furry, which are generally buried but audible beneath the dense soundscapes of organic production. The bass playing ability of Naratxa is also deserving of accolade, especially on the opening number “Olypos,” as the second half features schizoid inducing polyrhythmic patterns behind sonically complex sax leads. The albums middle numbered epic “The Abandoned World of Automata” is the records most endearing, impressive and iconic track, as it valleys through a array of creative musical ideas, breaking molds and shattering expectations along its fourteen minutes of play time.
Future Retro Spasm
is a downright fun listen, with its greatest fault being its lack of variation. While the album as a whole hints at greatness it never achieves anything outside of what the band has become known for, leaving something to be ever so desperately desired. The albums six tracks seldom stray from straightforward rhythm and sax perpetrated 4/4 grooves, and while they are impressive, the homogeneity of Future Retro Spasm
can grow somewhat tiresome by the records end. Nevertheless, this album deserves at the very least a full listen as it portrays a mighty band at their technical and creative peak.