Oof! Rather like when you miss a downward step and have cause to make an involuntary noise upon reconnecting with terra firma, so un-met expectations can also force an audible reaction. Having very much enjoyed 2009’s Drone Trailer from these guys I was therefore left on the couch making something approaching said noise right from the off with this new release, Space Homestead (MV + EE's 32nd album since 2001 apparently).
Whilst the sound in general was what I’d expected, things just seem to lack the general warmth and sensitivity of the earlier releases. Track 1 is merely a short instrumental named after 1960s British horror actress Barbara Steele for some reason and from there on things just drift along in the normal trippy fashion with languid guitar parts, gentle drums and echoing, phased vocals. All nice enough and totally inoffensive but as a result unexciting and hard to sell to anyone not already into the likes of Beechwood Sparks, New Riders Of The Purple Sage, Bongwater or anything in between.
The nine songs in the package fail to push any emotional buttons (a near constant feature of Drone Trailer) although the extended guitar solo of track seven, ‘Too Far To See’, lifts that song head and shoulders above the rest by achieving the feat of managing to sound like some Grateful Dead outtake – clear as a bell descending into distortion as you picture the sun rising over Death Valley. All too short though at only four minutes. I’ve got my fingers crossed that album 33 finds them back much more on form.