Astrakhan: Adrenaline Kiss album review

Pucker up for this highly promising Swedish act.

TODO alt text

Swedish prog hardly needs any more great bands to strengthen its reputation, but Astrakhan are one of the country’s most promising acts. Adrenaline Kiss not only builds on the distinctive bombast of 2013’s Retrospective debut, it adds more layers and aesthetic touches to what is an already crowded but ruthlessly organised sonic vista. The eight-minute sprawl of Silver Dreams is a case in point: initially a brusque and precise prog anthem, it twists and turns through bursts of psychedelic misdirection and the omnipresent shimmer of analogue keys, ending with a Yes-like shamanic twinkle.

Elsewhere, the quartet let a soupçon of downbeat Doors-y blues temper their technical urges, most notably on the bleak but soulful Alive, while the title track is a fidgeting, Heep-like joy. On the grooves of Gravity, Astrakhan flex their Floydian muscles, with angular psych rock riffs punctuating an otherwise blissful forward drift. It ends with Stockholm, a sublime, melancholy waltz that will, despite being sung in Swedish, strike an emotional chord to even the most English of ears. A huge step up for its creators and yet another reason to sell up and move to Scandinavia.