Lunar Gardens by Possum

Release date: July 2, 2021
Label: Idée Fixe Records

If you thought both Mahogany Frog and Blood Ceremony are following in the footsteps by carrying the torch of the Progressive Rock genre, you might want to buckle your safety belts by hurling through the cosmic voyages of Toronto’s own Possum. They have taken the aspects of psychedelia, garage, and prog to a whole new upscale of music that is like opening up the doors into unknown worlds.

Their follow-up to their 2019 debut Space Grade Assembly is their second album entitled, Lunar Gardens. Released on the Idée Fixe label, this is the right time to return to space once more at the right momentum for Possum. Brandon Balk, Tobin Hopwood, Patrick Lefler, Christopher Shannon, and Bradley Thibodeau are following in the footsteps of early Soft Machine, Camel’s Moonmandess-era, Syd Arthur, Italian’s own Jennifer Gentle, and the Ladbroke Grove bands High Tide and Quintessence.

 

Believe me, Possum have really done their homework well to carry a bit of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s vibe from the underground scene with a stroke of the match waiting to be lit. ‘Guest of the Moon’ is sung in the psychedelic version of a Bebop Jazz approach of Miles Davis’ ‘All Blues’ from Kind of Blue. The chords and rhythm have this four-bar vamp that the quintet channel with a modaling tone featuring some brutal heavy wah-wah riffs and swirling organ grooves.

Both ‘Leyline Riders’ and ‘Moonjuice’ make you want to dance in the hot, hot sun with a Brazilian Tropicalian Samba. Grooved-out vibrations, and spaced out rocking tones that crosses between Dave Brock and Michael Karoli’s textures for a joy ride, it becomes a cat-and-mouse chase. At times, Possum honors the MoonJune label with the sixth track.

They delve into the Headhunters vibe as if Herbie Hancock has teamed up with Soft Machine alumni Mike Ratledge as he goes into a throttling mood by making his organ go bat-shit crazy on his fuzztone techniques before pumping down some drum-lines and cavernous wah-wah vibrations to hunt for the criminals on the run. ‘Clarified Budder’ opens the album with an ignition for lift-off. Joyful thumping melodies and middle-eastern atmospheres that tugs between Quintessence’s ‘Notting Hill Gate’, Camel’s ‘Lunar Sea’ and Television’s midsection on ‘Marquee Moon’. ‘Gala at the Universe City’ sees Possum taking a trip down memory lane in the late ‘60s of the Ladbroke Grove scene as the vocals share resemblance towards High Tide’s Tony Hill, and a ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ midsection at the end.

‘Dance of the Eclipse’ is Possum’s answer to the vaudeville and swing section for first minute and 30 seconds before it travels into a droning effect for the last 59 seconds as the closing title-track is a meditation with raga vibrations by having the stress removed from your body.

Possum’s second album is the ultimate trip. When you put on Lunar Gardens, you not only just embarked on their next adventure, but the adventure that awaits you to take the listener higher and higher across the heavens, and getting those vibrations up-and-running to see what the quintet will think of next.

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