White Hills - So You Are. ..So You'll Be [Thrill Jockey - 2013]Released in August, ‘So You Are. ..So You'll Be’ is the bands seventh full-length studio album. Featuring Dave W. on guitars, synthesizer and vocals, Ego Sensation on bass, synthesizer and vocals, and Nick Name on drums, this is one mighty slice of psychedelic space rock.
There’s a great quote from band leader Dave where he says: "Heavy psychedelic music can deliver the thinking mind through a door to the greater universe. I want people to find a space for meditation. We all are constantly barraged and beaten down with a lot of bullshit today. Personally, I find that spaced-out extreme music transports me to a very tranquil place. I hope, more than anything, our music brings others to that place of enlightenment and ecstasy."
So does he deliver?
Well, kind of. After the brief logo tone intro of 'In Words,' the album blasts off with, 'In Your Room' - a slice of metal, which to my mind is the albums weakest track, closely followed by 'The Internal Monologue’ which starts with drones and cosmic white noise synths like Klaus Schulz’s organic landscapes. The track develops from the cosmic slop turning ‘Phaedra’ like before fading away again.
The title track is next and here we really enter the classic space rock arena. Hawkwind like riffs and vocals propel the track into a ‘Master of the Universe’ like trance, with a guitar solo that starts then slows down and becomes quiet. Subdued bass and fuzz then float into hyperspace before dropping out of warp to end with the sound of violin like tendrils of sound descending from the sky!
We then have another short computer beacon of sound in ‘Outwords’ before interstellar bleeps and howling guitars herald the arrival of ‘Forever in Space (Enlightened)’. This is another alien landscape of hostile Hawkwind noise. Proto metal riffs emerge from the howling before Brock like guitar and vocals propel us forward until finally we sink into a sonic morass.
‘Rare Upon the Earth’ is next and again we are in classic early Hawkwind territory, the whole thing sounding like an outtake from those classic albums we all love. Think Stooges, think Brain Donor.
The brief interlude synths of ‘Circulating’ lead us to the end of our trip with ‘Mist (Winter)’ when the Krautrock flag is flown. A metallic motoric beat leads into dubby effects as we travel the cosmos on a early Kratwerk/Neu like trip. Excellent.
So, was I transported? Yes, at times but only for short periods. At 44 minutes the album is too short and I would have welcomed the cosmic pieces being longer and more tripped out for maximum effect!Dave Biddulph