The Phoenix go from subterranean darkness to the limits of the solar system on their latest EP; no mean feat when it contains just two new songs and a cover version (and a half).
The group’s driving force is multi-instrumentalist Justin Greaves whose formative influences (he was the drummer in ever-gloomy Electric Wizard) assert themselves in Spider Island, a sludgy slab of doom with a churning tempo and thudding riffs. New Dark Age mines a similarly dark vein, although the grinding heaviness is displaced mid-way through the track by a trippy, jangling exploration of the cosmos that provides a foretaste of what’s to follow, as CBP tackle Pink Floyd’s Echoes. Greaves and band do a remarkable job of capturing Floyd’s sound and, with a running time of over 30 minutes, it approaches the original’s scale and ambition. The marathon instrumental section delivers psychedelic space rock worthy of Hawkwind as the track disintegrates into a swirl of fragments, before CBP add a dash of The Tornados’ Telstar to their highly intoxicating concoction. Two outer space classics for the price of one. Kudos to Crippled Black Phoenix for pulling them both off with such élan.