By: Martyn Coppack
Dead Sea Apes | facebook | bandcamp |
Released on November 3, 2014 via Cardinal Fuzz
How does one go about reviewing this new album from Dead Sea Apes, High Evolutionary? Here is a band who have slowly released a series of EP’s and albums which have evolved from droned out rock to the tumultuous sound of their last album. They are a band who have never trodden an easy path and have straddled the boundaries between drone, psych and krautrock whilst not shying away from the more heavier elements of music.
Now we can add High Evolutionary to that remarkable journey and here-in lies the problem. We could simply go through track by track and give an idea of what it sounds like but that would be completely missing the point. You see, High Evolutionary is not just a collection of songs. It is a piece of work that needs to be sunk into and enjoyed. Much like a classical symphony, the key is in the whole and nor just the small parts. High Evolutionary signals an approach to the album which we may have thought lost. It is an album as a whole…and rather a remarkable album at that.
Having been able to work on songs a bit longer than they thought, Dead Sea Apes have honed their sound into one that is trance inducing and hypnotic. A strong Arabian feel descends upon the album like when the riff starts on Alejandra and adds to the other worldliness. Synths drift in and out in an unhurried way and at times the album barely lifts an heartbeat. The pure space that is allowed to breathe in this uncluttered space then makes for a much more interesting journey than prior releases where maybe the band could be accused of rushing. No bad deal though as this is the end point of that journey from a band starting out to a fully formed one. This is the psych world’s OK Computer if you like.
One major element throughout is krautrock but this is not of the Can variety. Instead, it is a much more measured response which slowly adds more detail as the album progresses. A drum beat here, a riff there, all adding to the myriad moments of beauty as we progress. The culmination being the monolithic riff of Regolith that blasts out just as you are lulled into a false sense of security.
And that’s how Dead Sea Apes work. They know exactly when to turn the noise up or quieten down when needed. They know how to take their time with get music and they also know when to cut loose. They are simply magnificent at what they do and High Evolutionary can stand tall as one of the most important psych releases of the year. If this is how the band have evolved on this album who knows what they may be capable of in the future. A masterpiece.