Graham Reid | | 1 min read
After their impressive self-titled EP
in '08 then the expansive, cinematic debut album Circa Scaria
the following year, this Auckland-based band which brought together
psychedelic space-flight guitar rock with touches of world music
(Middle Eastern and North African from violinist Felix Lun, plus
sitar, oud, lute and odd percussion from Rob Croft and Ede Giesen)
relocated to Berlin.
It was almost the breaking of them, but
on the evidence of this eight track album – especially the latter
half – it sounds like it has made them into something harder, less
romantic and much tighter. Almost inevitably elements of Krautrock
(Can, Neu!) have been assimilated and, if the exoticism of the world
music has been reined in, then what has come through instead is an
urgent astral ambience on pieces like Seizuretron which is so
wide-screen it sounds orchestrated.
The exoticism sensibly hasn't been
dispensed with entirely (it's their point of difference) and on Circa
Scaria here – yes, also the title of that debut album – you
are swept off to a caravansary somewhere in a desert, perhaps one on
Mars. And Keys to the Kingdom is a haunting sci-fi/world music
Ulica Bolslaw doesn't tell you
much more than you already know although hints at the German
influence which comes to fruition on throbbing tracks like the nine
minute-plus title track and Casual Encounters at the end where
a darker, menacing and occasionally industrial edge has been added to
AEC could have happily sat where they were for a couple of albums, but The Fourth suggests they are restless spirits – and they've set their controls fo the heart of the sun.
And we're the better for it.