Spectrum Highs, Lows and Heavenly Blows Vinyl

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Working with guitarist and sometime vocalist Scott Riley, as well as regular collaborators Pete Bain aka Bassman from Spacemen 3 and Alf Hardy, Sonic led a new version of Spectrum into murkier waters with the low-key but quietly powerful Highs, Lows and Heavenly Blows. There's nothing like "How You Satisfy Me" and its immediate pop blast here, while the generally lighter and more gently spaced tones of Soul Kiss as a whole are mostly absent until the album's conclusion. There the wistful amble of "Don't Pass Me By" and the similarly minded "I Know They Say" help set up the great conclusion, "Take Me Away," as pristine a psych confectionery as there'll ever be, with the pace and delivery of the best lullaby around. Other inspiration comes in part from the freeform work on the first Experimental Audio Research releases, only here meshed, at least part of the time, with song structures. Subtle ones, admittedly -- "Undo the Taboo" makes for one heck of a minimal (to the point of almost nonexistent) melody and understated delivery, and that was the single from the album. "Take Your Time" is almost an anthem in context thanks to the great lead piano/keyboard melody, a drawing on the blues/gospel roots that helped inform some of his best work as much as his old bandmate Jason Pierce's. Other songs call to mind earlier Sonic highlights -- "Then I Just Drifted Away" uses the spoken word/steady pace approach familiar from songs like Spacemen 3's "Ode to Street Hassle" and his solo single "Angel," only even more sedated, slurred, and completely floating. Elsewhere, Sonic's increasing tendency toward freeform exploration comes to the fore, resulting in the instrumental work of tunes like "Feedback" (living up to its name, if very beautifully sculpted and arranged feedback). ~ Ned Raggett

  • Format: Vinyl
  • Genre: Rock
  • Released: 08/03/2018

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