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Distortion and Spacey Goodness

Flying Saucer Attack
New Lands
(Drag City)

I went through sort of a roundabout way of hearing about this group. By some odd chance, I long ago remembered reading an article about a group called Third Eye Foundation. In turn, I ended up finding one of their CDs in a cheap CD bin and bought it because of the strange name recognition that popped into my head upon seeing the cover. I had never heard the group and had no idea what they sounded like, but I remembered reading something good about them. Anyway, the main man in that group in named Matt Elliot and before he was doing his spooky noise wash jungle soundscape thing, he was a member of Flying Saucer Attack.

If you've heard Third Eye Foundation, you already have a decent idea what FSA sounds like, without all the cut-up electronic percussion and screaming sound effects. Another group that they've managed to find themselves in close proximity with in terms of description is My Bloody Valentine (and depending on who you are, this is either a very good thing or a very bad thing). As far as I know (which isn't very much unfortunately about this group), New Lands is the most recent album proper by the group and actually finds them going in a bit of a different direction than some of their earlier stuff.

The opening track on the disc, "Past" sets the tone immediately with a wail of high-pitched feedback before settling back in with a steady drumbeat and repetitive bassline. The focus of the song is the wash of sound over the top, though, and it swirls and wraps itself around and through the rhythym section for almost 3 minutes before an abrupt ending. Another difference between FSA and TEF is made in the second and third tracks with the addition of vocals. "Up In Her Eyes" finds the group pulling off an amazing juxtaposition of light, dreamy vocals and a caustic, metallic beat in the background. The omnipresent drone is there as well, ebbing and flowing throughout. The fifth track, "Night Falls" takes a different turn with its more subdued noise levels and more electronic beat structure. It's actually really hard not to notice the similarities between a couple tracks on New Lands and Third Eye Foundations first release Semtex.

What it comes down to is that if you like drone-rock, shoegazer sort of stuff like My Bloody Valentine, this is an excellent album (Dare I say even better than the latter?). The percussion is interesting throughout and although it's kind of dreary to listen to in one sitting, there is an amazing subtlety in the tracks. It might take a little patience for some listeners, but you might find yourself hypnotized.

Rating: 7