Review Summary: "In The Garden!"
I found out about Asteroid through Mr. Bungle
. Yep, the Mike Patton led 90’s experimental band from California. Quite the contrary, then, that through Mr. Bungle I should stumble across the Swedish psychedelic, stoner-rock trio. And boy are they a joy to listen to.
The first song I heard by Asteroid was the opening track of II 'Garden'; a spacey, psychedelic tune, filled with all the fuzz and deep bass you'd want to hear in a stoner band. It starts calm, with a cool, chilled riff, before dropping you into the land of deep, fuzzy space-rockness. Not long after the lead vocalist sings ‘in the garden!’ several times, we get the words ‘half time!’ (or ‘hard time’… or something. I have no idea. Those Swedish folk ey…) before being thrust forwards into a fantastic two-minute instrumental that just screams psychalia. It really is wonderful.
The rest of the album keeps to this feel and theme, with standout tracks such as Karma, Edge and Lady. Karma is a fantastic song, starting with a 2-3 minute crescendo of lush guitars and dream-like melodies, when the fuzz is brought back at the peak of the build-up the song then just erupts. Edge is the shortest song on the album, but also one of the most addictive. It features a catchy riff, energetic drumming, and just overall TIGHTNESS; instrumentally, Asteroid really know how to groove; the jazz-infused drumming fits wonderfully, being more in the mix with the music as oppose to being in front of the songs, and the guitar and bass interlock perfectly. This truly is a band that knows how to make everything fit together just the way you want it. And then there’s Lady, another standout song which is a true head-banger. It does feature some slightly cringe-worthy lyrics (‘I MET A STRANGE LADY IN THE WOODS ONE NIGHT’) but it doesn’t stop the momentum. The latter half of the song is truly fantastic; lovely chordal melodies and harmonized guitar solos ahoy make it possibly the highlight of the album.
However, not all the songs live up to these heights. For example, ‘Disappear’ starts great. Despite the great start, the song fails to keep momentum and a huge crescendo ends up becoming a huge anti-climax. This isn’t the only problem; it’s incredibly similar to Garden in terms of structure. This means that after being blown away from the first song of the record, this one will leave you underwhelmed. Moreover, the slower, calmer song ‘River’ lacks a bit in terms of substance. Although it leads quite nicely into Lady, it just seems a tad dull.
All in all, II is an excellent album. A chilled-out Truckfighters
, Asteroid are a fantastic band, and they prove this very well on their second album. Although some tracks lack a bit of magic, as a whole it flows wonderfully together, sending you on a space-age, hypnotic journey of groove, melodic-hooks… and most of all, FUZZ.