Review Summary: Cruising through cosmos at the speed of sound…
The space rock Swedes continue their cosmos exploration on their 3rd studio album at a faster pace, crafting some of their most intense dynamics yet. It’s interesting to observe their gradual evolution within the genre without losing that spark ignited from the eponymous debut. Dedicating a fair amount of time to nuance the sound and compositions, Yuri Gagarin have finally presented us The Outskirts of Reality
, their latest set of piercing rockers. Opener ‘QSO’ wastes no time, throwing you at the spacecraft’s helm while at full throttle. The scorching guitars and manic drumming pummel for minutes on end, whereas the second guitar switches between fret-melting solos and catchy leads, closely followed by the smooth sweep of windy synthesizers. At some point, they all fall into a sweet, mellow coda, complete with gentle, intertwining chords. Meanwhile, ‘Oneironaut’ displays a groovier rhythm lifted straight out of early ‘70s hard rock records. It patiently waits for you to get hooked, before inserting layers of noisier keyboards and multiple, melodic string flourishes. The repetitive, mesmerizing nature of the music owes a great deal to Hawkwind’s (and Robert Calvert’s) style, albeit filtered through contemporary touches and other psychedelic/acid rock influences. Plus, you can observe a certain pattern on their records, as the band didn’t stray much from their well-established formulas. Nevertheless, they have worked to improve the delivery and punch, feeling tighter with each release.
Moving on, sharp guitar arrangements grace most of ‘Crystal Dunes’, still, the guys tone down for a nice, more subdued psychedelic segment halfway. This break makes room for a low end bass and tom-heavy drum build-up, but also for a needed tempo change. Then, as expected, you get a soaring return of distortion bonanza that, ultimately, gives way to the ‘Laboratory 1’ interlude. Moody sound scapes shape the tune, adding to the overall diversity. Shortly after, the title track bursts in with another round of furious riffage and wild solos, ending the journey in the same powerful way as it began. I can’t complain about it, because it’s fun and uplifting, thus, adding to the replay value. The band knows how much is enough for the listener in one setting and thankfully, don’t overstay their welcome. The Outskirts of Reality
is probably Yuri Gagarin’s most focused adventure so far, fine-tuning their skills and chemistry as a group. If you enjoyed their music before, this latest LP will definitely find its way into your collection or playlists. At the moment, the quintet is one of the most accessible and interesting acts in this genre, so don’t miss out on them.