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Lunar Dunes

  4Zero Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  

It's been nigh on four years since Lunar Dunes emerged, seemingly from nowhere, with their impressive debut album, From Above. In the meantime, two thirds of that line-up (the excellent rhythm section that is Ian Blackaby and Hami) released The Sky Under The Roof under the Solus 3 moniker with harpist Julia Thornton. This resulted in a somewhat less rocky, more atmospheric sound and was, if anything, even better than the Lunar Dunes album so I, for one, am pleased to hear that Galaxsea continues this direction. Guitarist Adam Blake might be back in the fold (and to good effect, too), but the line-up has expanded to include Thornton, keyboard player Larry Whelan as well as Krupa Pattni whose vocals graced The Sky Under The Roof. To put it rather glibly, what you're getting here is the best of both worlds.

The delicious Moon Bathing opens the album impressively, with Krupa wailing angelically over some tasty basslines and a laid back beat. If you ever liked Jah Wobble's Invaders Of The Heart then you're going to love this. Oriental Pacific features various atmospheric noises competing against each other over a nice lazy backdrop before Blake pops up with some lovely wah wah sounds halfway through. Conversely there's something quite unsettling and sinister sounding about the introduction to Oh You Strange Tune, one of the tracks that sounds more reminiscent of From Above, as Blake provides some almost bluesy licks over busy jazz-like beats and bass runs.

Pharaoh's Dream is another that brings the band's debut album to mind, whilst Ayaz features Blackaby and Hami in a seemingly harder-hitting mode and benefits from some Eastern sounds in the distance. We then reach the lengthy, atmospheric Svalbard, which features various vocals wailing and humming over some sporadic harp playing and some deep feel-it-in-your bowels bass playing. A ten minute or so centrepiece of Galaxsea that positively drips ambition.

Free To Do opens like how The Beatles Come Together might sound if Macca had been putting his feet up and reggae legend Robbie Shakespeare had popped in on bass, before Blake enters with more bluesy guitar whilst Eastern Promise basically does what it says on the tin. Off World Beacon then brings the album to a close, opening in an almost under-stated manner before things once again get slightly unsettling as the harp washes over some stop-start clattery drums and various sounds that appear to veer from sci-fi effects to Meat Is Murder and back in the blink of an eye.

In short, if you liked the previous Lunar Dunes and Solus 3 albums, you're in for a treat here. Their best yet without a doubt and an album that is sure to figure highly in my end of year lists.

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Also on EvilSponge:
   Album: From Above


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