At long last, cosmic rovers Messenger return with Threnodies – the ravenously anticipated follow-up to their mesmerising 2014 debut, Illusory Blues.
That album saw critics struggling to gather Messenger’s shape-shifting psychedelic ruminations into some identifiable, pre-existing genre where none existed. With discrete passages revealing subtle nods to classic giants like Pink Floyd and even Led Zeppelin, their dizzyingly eclectic melodies flowed through transfixing streams of prog and folk, distilling their sound into their own exotic and spiritually evocative pastiche. Threnodies builds upon those ideas not by adding newer sounds but by removing all motifs not wholly essential to the voyage. While the very name suggests plodding funeral dirges, Threnodies is, in fact, a joyfully ambitious journey through edgeless realms of prog, folk, electric blues and 70s psychedelia.
Pareidolia demands a mention for its pummelling guitar-powered climax and masterful use of dynamics, but there’s not a mediocre cut here, let alone a throwaway. From the lighter-hoisting blues attack of Celestial Spheres to the seductively dreamy undertow of Balearic Blue, no track ends anywhere near its launch point, each charting a distinct kaleidoscopic journey through cryptic phrasings, tonal experimentalism and ever-morphing tempos that erupt into galloping, five-alarm freakouts.
Repeated listens will only pull you deeper into this rapturous vortex, so close the door, throw on some headphones and let the odyssey begin.