Review Summary: Where am I? Where was I?
You drive to the end of the longest, most remote dirt road in your town. At the end of the road is an old farmhouse surrounded by people. You walk through the door and are welcomed by a wave of smoke and a huge flanneled man handing you two beers. It's Schlitz. What do you expect? As you stroll in what seems to be slow motion through the party, you notice the music. The riffs pluck at your ears and the bass weighs on you like lead. You're moving even slower now. The man next to you passes you a joint. Even slower now. You stumble. You ask someone nearby where you are. "Exactly where you need to be, man". Powder lifts off the table. You're still not sure where you are. You enter a room. There's a group of men there. You sit in the corner. Words fly by you but very few of them register. The word acid is used quite frequently. The men reminisce about Woodstock, they reminisce about the last time the Dead came to town, they reminisce about quaaludes. These men live in a different time. These men are anachronisms. These men are listening to The Re-Stoned.
The Re-Stoned's Analog
should feel at home right next to Ted Nugent's self-titled album or The Yardbird's debut, For Your Love
. The way they deftly coalesce gigantic Black Sabbath inspired riffs with psychedelic drone interludes reminiscent of an early Led Zeppelin would have put them at the forefront of rock and roll in the early 1970's. The lack of vocals would obviously detract from their fame retrospectively, but there is no doubt that these tracks would have been monumental in psychedelic rock and roll's halcyon days. But where do they land today? When your sound is forty years too late, where does that put you?
It certainly puts you in a strange place and it heavily relies on your song-writing ability. Can you keep today's music listening populace occupied with long meandering interludes and a heavy finger on the bass? The Re-Stoned certainly can. With hefty riffs on Put The Sound Down Or Get The Hell out
and Northern Lights
your ears perk up almost instantly. Recognizable, memorable and strong, these riffs set a pace for an album that changes tempo at a moments notice and has no fear to go headlong into a three minute bass jam. The first half of the album seems to be an ode to the hard rocker of the 70's, but after the nine minutes of bluesy solos and psychedelic plucking present on Crystals
the album certainly takes a shift.
is the rising action of the album and although it elapses eight minutes, it's really a rather unmemorable track. What it does well is segue the laid back atmosphere of the preceding tracks and moves forward right into the funky, Hendrix-like Music for Jimmy
. The side-winding climax of the album tears through your speakers for seven minutes straight and is an unabridged guitar showcase for guitarist Ilya Lipkin. The follow-up falling action track, Dream of Vodyanoy,
twists and turns for fourteen minutes of psychedelia and works as a fantastic capitulation to the winding album.
Although in the 1970's this album certainly would have garnered a huge following, today, most people don't find the want to listen to rehashed psychedelic rock. Most people have accepted that Zeppelin and Floyd were the best and simply move on with their musical agenda. This type of thinking may be incredibly disrespectful to a genre fraught with talent and substance, but it also has a semblance of truth to it. There is such a huge catalog of stoner rock that it seems like piling more albums on top is arbitrary. With so many musicians pushing the envelope and the advent of so many new genres, why does it make sense to color within the lines?
So where are you now? You've been in that room for what seems like days. The men keep poking at you to check that you're still conscious. Then you feel it. A vibration in your pocket. "Oh f***". You came to this house three hours ago to deliver a pizza and yet here you sit. You bolt upright and start toward the door. You've been lost for a few hours, but now you've been found. Through the heap of substance and the bludgeoning of the antiquated rock sound you stumble through the house, reeling with what just happened. You get in your car and the silence brings you back to the present. What was that record? Was it really that good, or was it the drugs? Did you enjoy the atmosphere or did you enjoy the music itself? You start your car up. It doesn't really matter anyway.