on 9 February 2012
If you're the kind of person who thinks that the last half hour of the film '2001: A Space Odyssey' isn't trippy enough, then White Hills are probably the band for you.
This 2007 release starts in the Garage with 'Radiate' and 'Oceans of Sound', both of which deal in 'Spine of God/Superjudge' era Monster Magnet fuzz, wah solos and murky vocal incantations. It's impressive stuff and distinctive enough to whet the appetite but in the grand scheme of things, it's just the calm before the storm... oh, and it turns out the garage was actually a rocket shed.
'Return of the Speed Toilet' (great track name, utterly misleading) is where the album really takes off as said rocket engines are fired up for 'Visions of the Past, Present and Future', which explodes out of the speakers and, over the course of 10 glorious minutes, never once looses momentum as you're subjected to a masterclass in dynamism and ebb and flow. It's music that most bands would kill for to use as their 'epic album closer'. For White Hills the journey has only just begun.
What follows is 'Don't Be Afraid' (again, a misleading title... it's terrifyingly good), which frankly dwarfs everything before it. We're now floating in space with the most locked in rhythm section imaginable and alternately buffeted by FX, beautifully measured keys, synthesizers and huge clouds of guitar noise. It's propulsive, like 'Doremi...' era Hawkwind but impossible to digest in one sitting, similar in scale to Echoes by Pink Floyd but more mantra like, breathtaking stuff... although breathing in space was never meant to be easy.
Strangely addictive and highly recommended.