Polymoon - Caterpillars of Creation [Svart Records - 2020]Polymoon are a Finnish psychedelic rock band with surf inflected guitar twang and a striking loud/soft dynamic. Caterpillars of Creation, released on the famed Svart Records, is their debut album.
The dreamy lightness of the initial clean guitar and vocals recall the marmalade skies of late 60's psych pop, Syd Barrett and the Beatles, et cetera. However, this record does not dwell exclusively in this sphere, using the delicate sunshine infused pop melodies as a springboard for churning instrumental migrations, explosions of fuzzed out riffage and droning passages of ambience, and otherwise abstract realms far beyond the scope of a brief pop song structure. This Sonic Youth-esque tendency to dissolve comfortably from structured composition into intuitive explorations of collective momentum is excellent for keeping the music fresh and engaging.
This album most assuredly achieves the air of euphoric nostalgia one would be looking for in an album of acid rock, and from the first moments one can feel the stresses of the day dissolving into the loose bluesy groove and colorful, reverberant texture of the guitar and synth effects. The summery psychedelic influence is paired comfortably with a haunting tone at times to the guitar writing which betrays influences from black and viking metal. This is a welcome and wonderful addition to the world of psychedelic rock, bringing a uniquely Finnish form of reverence to nature into the music. The distortion, when it is fully utilized, is quite heavy.
Vocals are present, but sparingly used, heavily chorused and mixed into the background. Typically, there are only a few lines before the music becomes fully instrumental again. Though the singer's technique is not polished, they fit comfortably into the whole of the sound, and add a certain poet meaning to the structure of the songs.
Truly, this album is emotionally moving on several occasions. The climaxes of the songs are majestic, triumphant, genuinely joyful. There is a passion and vibrant energy to this recording, and while I might expect to find this youthful vibrancy on a band's first recording, I am surprised at the charisma and confidence herein. Each song presented here is tuneful and memorable, with the lead guitar responsible for the most affecting melodies. While the band may meander in instrumental realms for a few minutes at a time, no song drags or overstays its welcome, the five-nine minute pieces feeling short as they pass by. The boldly expressive sound on this album bridges a gap between dark and light, and should appeal to a variety of listeners from mellow rock-to-morose metal.Josh Landry