As the CD fell out of the opened envelope, my excitement grew. This album is on the Tee Pee Record Label… and they don’t deal in middling mediocrity. This is one to look forward to, I thought. Then I read the accompanying Press Sheet and the first line mentions that Toronto based QUEST FOR FIRE are a ‘psych rock’ band. Result!
(This following video track does not actually feature on the album, but I thought you might like to listen to a taster of the band while you continue reading the review.)
Then….. what’s this? Opening track, ‘The Greatest Hits By God’ has a chuffin’ string section playing away. Cellos, I think. Is this Apocalyptica in disguise? Some Finnish symphonic rock nonsense?
Nah! THIS, my friend is pure class! It took a couple of listens, granted, but the combination of droned vocals wrapped around the dark, brooding string section and languid, spaced out guitar is a stroke of genius. All seven minutes and forty-four goddamned minutes of it!
‘Set Out Alone’ picks up on the pace, but there’s still a heavy, leaden psychedelic feel about the slightly muted vocals and contrasting searing guitars that combine so effortlessly with the distorted bass and pounding drums. It kind of reminds me of a fugg obscured Stone Roses in their pomp.
If the previous track evokes memories of the late Eighties Manchester scene, then ‘Strange Vacation’ prompts thoughts of another band often associated with that time, although they were strictly speaking not from the same city. This track has a deep, resonating bass line, a rolling, tribal drumbeat and although there is no obvious sound of an organ, the guitars and hushed, slightly reverb-infused vocals give it the sound of early Charlatans. Perfect!
‘Confusion’s Home’ returns to the more ’stoner’ feel, with a drop in pace encompassing a really deep and threatening bed that supports some slightly distant vocals and intermittent searing guitar work. At just short of seven minutes, it’s long enough to get ‘lost’ in, but not so long that it becomes tedious.
‘In The Place Of A Storm’ has a bit of a Sixties psychedelia theme running through it. Quicker than the previous track, it features well placed key changes that give it an ‘off kilter’ atmosphere, and again, the rolling drums and spaced-out guitar combine well with the reverb infused vocals.
‘Psychic Seasons’ features the strings again. This time the track is more acoustic based, with a dreamy, Seventies Rock feel about it. Perhaps there are little snippets of Country influence way in the background? Whatever, it’s a lovely, gentle little track that offers a bit of respite to the heavier aspects of what preceded. Then there follows ‘Hinterland Who’s Who.’ Again I’m reminded of The Charlatans throughout this slow-burning, atmospheric track that builds slowly to a crashing crescendo and huge wall of noise for the final couple of minutes.
‘Sessions Of Light’ is the closing track. It is also the longest on the album at almost nine and a half minutes. This is a fantastic, trippy, heavy blues piece – broody and moody, it builds and explodes, rises and falls. Terrific.
You know what? When the Virgin Records store opened in Glasgow back in the mid-Seventies, there was always an ‘interesting’ smell about the place.
Bang this CD into your player and take a deep breath!
(Released through Tee Pee Records on 8th November 2010)
As the C