Californian 5-piece Invite You to Their 70's Psych Realm
Occultation is what happens when an object is hidden by another that passes between it and the observer. Like a lunar eclipse sees the moon block out the sun, so too does this album see Mondo Drag spin their hazy 70’s sound past your concentration. Alluring and absorbing, this Californian 5-piece invite you into their realm.
Last years self-titled release developed a tendency for jumping from thick Classic Rock grooves to spacey Psychedelic plains. They exercised a lot more control and restraint than the more energetic 2010 debut, ‘New Rituals’. Now as they mature into 2016,’The Occultation of Light’, out on RidingEasy Records, sees the band mature to a sound even more polished than before.
How is the sound ?
Somewhere between a trip and meditation. Aided by the use of a keyboard (John Gamino) and a synth (Nolan Girard) work, you best start preparing to look at the stars.
The combination of keys and guitars create a thick atmosphere that permeates through every song, and the use of that organ sound plants this album firmly in the old school. Andrew O’Neil’s bass tone is always warm, always catchy, and always locked in tight with the drumming (Ventura Garcia). Having a solid rhythm section means that all the other elements (of which there are many) can break off and go exploring spacey frontiers.
There’s no track that feels out of place, all are dripping with that retro-prog-rock sound, but Mondo Drag do present a range that is satisfyingly diverse. ‘Out of Sight’ takes probably the most direct and punchy approach before being followed up by ‘Rising Omen’, and herein begins their gradual ramp up into true 70s psychedelia.
Clocking in at 6 and a half minutes but feeling over 12, ‘The Eye‘, like a lot of others, has a way of making you sort of forget how you got here. When did that trippy synth wave begin? How did this warm fuzzy guitar tone flourish? It’s a sound that constantly grows and evolves but never has noticeably sharp changes.
‘Dying Light’ is rather predictably is a worthy closer of such a dynamic album. This track tears across all the landscapes of groove that those previous 6 had promised.
You also get your lucky little ears a bonus track, ‘Ride The Sky’, that’s refreshingly upbeat, straightforward, good o’l fashioned…rock and bloody roll. This is such a sweet addition to put your mind back in the drivers’ seat after it’s departure from your body into the dark unknown of space.
Why is this album worth listening to?
- Feels like a natural progression from last years release. If you liked that, you’ll love this.
- Dripping with atmosphere thanks to swirling synth sounds; there’s organ just everywhere.
- Diverse yet coherent; this feels like a complete album, each song works nicely with the others.
In what situation should you listen to this album ?
On a clear night, sat outside next to a bonfire, looking at the stars.
Something particular to note ?
They’re currently performing a string of dates in the USA with the legendary Pentagram!
Keep it Groovy,
For Fans Of
Hawkwind, Earth, Tame Impala, Monomyth
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