Saturday, March 07, 2015

Gherkins In Space...

Vintage Cucumber / The Holy Cosmos - Split (2015)

Overcoming the seeming contradiction of an independent collaboration, this split joins together Germany's one-man band Vintage Cucumber with Mexico's sextet of The Holy Cosmos, delivering some fine space rock from each of the contributors.  The opening band depends on which of the BandCamps is your source, but since VC's name is the first one on the album cover in both editions, I used the version with his side as the starter for my listening experience.
Opening with "Mutterherz", Vintage Cucumber rolls out a soft-pulsing blanket of casually psychedelic material, layering a steady drum-beat with synthesizers and pedal-adjusted guitar tones for a rising energy level that transitions smoothly into the next track, "Rennsimulator Marke Eigenbau".  This one goes a little more garage-rocky with the rhythms and attitude, though the production still sounds impressive, hitting that sweet spot of being clean without sounding plastic. Before too long, it's on into Vintage Cucumber's last track, "Windhart", which opens up with the sounds of air rushing past the listener.  One atmospheric segue later, and VC is laying out cool stretches of swaying grooviness, like a calm trip outside at night.  The song hits its conclusion in a trail of twinkling notes drifting off into the stars.
THC picks up from there with some wavering bass drenched in fuzz, with spaced-out vocals and sedate tambourine setting the pace in "Fields", which glazes out the beats while drawling along on guitar.  "Come On Riding" lets the group shake off their daze a little bit, though some sonic shuddering keeps it floating free from earthly bonds while they trace out their hallucinatory path.  Finally, "Cult of Skulls" gets gnarly with the feedback while digging deeper into the dirty dream sound.
The two bands complement each other very well, offering different takes on the type of psychedelia that can just kick back and ride a groove; Vintage Cucumber puts in the effort to make his songs just as big as those from the six-person group, while The Holy Cosmos pull off their tracks with enough unity of purpose to match VC's singular focus.  Solid stuff all around, heavy on the groove but casually cool in their attitudes.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Vanilla Trainwreck, Stereolab, Santana, Inspiral Carpets, A Place To Bury Strangers


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