Acid Mothers Temple
Oh baby baby baby. I'm not one of those crazy fans of Acid Mothers Temple that has to have everything they've every released (which is a shitload, mind you), but once in awhile it feels good to lay a little AMT on the stereo and let the thing absolutely scorch. Their previous release on Alien8Recordings was the absolutely thunderous (and aptly titled) Electric Heavyland, and that 40+ minute beast left my brain circuits fried after listening to it all the way through. The squall it laid down slapped me upside the head like no other psych-rock beast save perhaps Field Recordings From The Sun by Comets On Fire.
So, just when I was waiting for AMT to bring it again, I realized that Mantra Of Love is an excursion into a slightly more melodic side of the group. In fact, the opening track of "La Le Lo" (a dramatic reworking of an Occian traditional song) starts out with sitar and some seriously high vocals from singer Cotton Casino that suddenly made me feel like I'd been tossed in a crate and dropped directly into the middle-east somewhere. It actually feels like a faithful rendition of the song by the group to start, but of course they start weaving ever-so-slowly before uncorking a middle section of rhythm-heavy psych madness that again makes me wonder how many minds they're going to blow when they start their first North American tour in a couple weeks.
The track somehow goes on for exactly 30 minutes (through every conceivable variation of the theme), and by the time it's all over you just want to hear something new, regardless. "L' Ambition Dans Le Miroir" is the second track (clocking in at a lean 15 minutes), and after starting with some stereo-panned and seriously spaced-out keyboards and chimes, it settles down into what is probably the most lovely track that the group has ever done. The guitar melody sways back and forth gracefully while Cotton again adds soaring vocals that make the track feel something like an early 4AD track doused with a heavy does of psychedelia. It's droning while also containing graceful melodies and while it is by no means the heaviest thing that the group has done, it may well be one of the most "heady." In the end, you've got 2 tracks and 45 minutes more music from the group. Sure, it could have probably been trimmed a smidge in places, but excess is what Acid Mothers Temple is about, even when they're not trying to lay waste to the surroundings. Drop!