Has it really been 6 years since Scenic's last album, the stunning 'Acquatica'? In the intervening time, Scenic mainman Bruce Licher hasn't been sitting at home twiddling his thumbs. He runs an independent, and multi award-winning, printing and design company. (If you want to see what is possible using just cardboard and lithographic printing, have a look at the beautiful reissues of Bruce's last band, Savage Republic, recently released on Mobilization records).
Scenic specialise in sweeping guitar-led instrumental soundscapes (hence the very apt band name) that are part Morricone, part Godspeed, part Ry Cooder. The previous two LPs were themed around the desert and the ocean respectively. There's no real theme to 'The Acid Gospel Experience'. But there is still that sense of vast space (and in the case of the near 20 minute final track, vast length too!) Most of the album could, at a push, be described as ambient, but not in a Windham Hill hippy-dippy-aromatherapy way. Guitars weave in and out of a great plateau of sound.
The absolute highlight of the set, however, is the driving 'Lightspeed'. A churning bass-riff speeds along for seven minutes, with sitars and guitars spraying around like a demented desert 'Silver Machine'. It's an incredibly exciting ride, seeming a lot faster than it actually is, like the soundtrack to some impending impact. An apposite title, and an amazing track.
Scenic don't seem to tour, and tracking their records down requires a lot of detective work. It's a shame, because I'm sure they would connect with the large audience who have taken the likes of Godspeed, Sigur Ros and Mogwai to their hearts.