Initially they come across as if in the stoner rock mould of Fu Manchu, but there’s more to Luder’s expansive space-rock than first meets the ear. Far from being simply stoner rock with some progressive pretensions, this flirts with genres as diverse as Soundgarden-esque grunge (opener Never Liked You) and gauzy shoegaze (Ask The Sky).
Astrolabe harks back to The Verve’s inimitable debut A Storm In Heaven, all loose grooves and freeform, spaced-out guitar. Dirge and Heartfelt represent the most indulgent side of the album.
Reminiscent of classic rock like early Sabbath combined with the expansive sonic palette of 70s prog pioneers, the kitschy feel here doesn’t detract from how enjoyable this band is. On the tail end of the record they cover Bowie’s I’m Afraid Of Americans, which morphs from the original – an industrial-electronic Trent Reznor collaboration – into a monolithic psych-metal anthem.
Bassist Sue Lott’s snotty vocal performance here does the track justice, but her normal delivery is much more restrained. Carrying the melody without being too high in the mix, she gives the recordings an organic, vintage feel that will lure in casual and intense listeners alike.