Reviews Column 58: Psychedelic Prog

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One of the less documented reunions of recent years was that of East London oddballs Terminal Cheesecake. Originally formed at the back end of the 80s, the band had been on hiatus for nearly 20 years before deciding to give it another go in 2013.

Elsewhere, it’s a bumper yield this time round. West Coast newcomers Wand follow up their recent album Golem with an even better effort, 1000 Days (Drag City). What’s most impressive is the sheer breadth of scope, be it approximating a dissonant kind of prog-punk on Broken Sun, offering up thick swirls of molten psychedelia on Grave Robber (with its Tame Impala-like reverb) or creating weirdo trance rock that wouldn’t sound out of a place on a 70s Can album. They close out with a hair-shaking wigout called, somewhat incongruously, Morning Rainbow.

Equally edifying is Out To Sea (Agitated), the latest from heavy Californians Carlton Melton. The band normally improvise inside a geodesic dome that happens to double up as drummer Brian McDougall’s house, but this time around they headed for a studio proper in San Francisco. The first couple of tracks, all blustery psych noise, turn out to be something of a false trail. They spend the rest of their time crafting tranquil drones full of quietly ominous feedback and muted textures. Brilliantly effective it is too, lulling you into a meditative calm that leaves you entirely unprepared for the extended buzz that constitutes The Barrier.

Brooklyn trio Dommengang clearly value the art of experimentation too. Fronted by Sig Wilson, whose prior form includes collaborations with Holy Sons, Castanets and Scout Niblett, debut album Everybody’s Boogie (Thrill Jockey) takes heavy blues as a rough fix, then runs amok with stampeding psych- rock and jagged ambience. Most of it is instrumental, save for the occasional indecipherable vocal, which allows for some unexpected detours into spooky folk and boogified metal. A blast from tip to toe.