The shadow of Krautrock looms large over the underground. Heck, if you count the overt Can-isms of recent Radiohead, it's even mainstream. As influences go, you could do so much worse (I certainly can't wait for those legions of Tiny Tim acolytes to make a scene). The best parts of the space rock legacy are tasty indeed. Taking the basic elements of rock and extending them into a hypnotic blend of rhythmic repetition, twisting guitars and anything else that makes noise into weird shapes, and then setting the controls for the heart of the sun (or at least the outer reaches of space) are the things to do. These psychedelic bits and pieces are to be found in Rule #3, Escapade's latest record on the Submergence label. The question is, do they make use of them in a good way or, even better, do they use them to make something new?
At first blush, the results seems promising. The packaging, with a brown cover shot of three wrecking balls, creates the unlikely effect of something menacing, depressing, and testicular all in one fell swoop. The song titles are evocative without falling into any science fiction cliché or pseudo-hippie wampum. The best song titles? Eclipse in Carbon and, my personal fave, And Then All Silence Was Crushed.
What of the tunes? Those expecting an Acid
Mother's Temple sonic roar and boom might be a little disappointed.
There's a subtle, sometimes ambient, feel to a number of tracks.
In fact, the last tune, And Then All Silence Was Crushed,
features prominent marimba! What seems to be at work here is
an almost jazz-like interplay between the members, with lots
of listening and playing as a group to weave a sound and feel.
That's not to say the atmospherics are wimpy. The noises and
textures have that disorienting, other worldly kick. After all,
you are supposed to be in outer or inner space. There's a noticeable
compositional intent to build an experience and no sign of random
noodling or weirdness to hide a lack of creative ability. It
ain't all atmosphere, either. There's meaty guitar, drum, and
bass to be had. It even roars a time or two, particularly on
the cover of that old Pink Floyd nugget Interstellar Overdrive
and their own tune Circumference, which really ends with
a bang, with guitar blaring and a speaker shredding finale.
The final verdict? All in all, quite satisfying. It's a nice display of musicianship and sonic adventuring. There is also an individual imprint to be found with no slavish imprisonment to space rock forefathers. That said, there's also no completely new experience to be had. The mold does not get broken. Furthermore, those moments when the band lets loose makes this reviewer hungry for more such moments. Maybe I'm being too adolescent and not fully enjoying the ride and substance? No matter. This will spend time in my stereo and I'll enjoy most every minute.