Monday 25 July 2016
INDICA BLUES ~ RUINS ON THE SHORE ......review
Oxford, the home of the oldest university in the English speaking world, a place that has given the world such luminaries as physicist Stephen Hawking, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and novelist Martin Amis and also the place that birthed alt. music giants Radiohead. Not so well known is the cities "underground" music scene and especially its contributions to the stoner and doom genres, bands like Desert Storm, Mother Corona and the (sadly) now defunct Caravan of Whores have all benefited from Oxford's small but vibrant live scene. A new band to add to that list are psych/stoner/doom quartet Indica Blues.
Indica Blues are Edward Glenn - Drums, Andrew Haines Villata - Bass, Tom Pilsworth - Guitar, vocals and John Slaymaker - Guitar and so far have two releases under their belt, 2014's "Towers Rising" and recent album "Ruins On The Shore" (2016).
"Ruins On The Shore" showcases a band who, despite their name, have their roots firmly planted in the doomier end of the stoner/psych genre. Only four songs long but packed full of heavy fuzzed riffage, pounding rhythms and sprinkled with touches of psych the album feels much bigger than its 30 minutes plus running time.
First track "Arms to the Sky" begins, after a brief swirling effect, with a maelstrom of pounding percussion, howling guitars and booming bass then falls into a gloriously fuzzed and distorted stoner doom groove. Pilsworth delivers, over this, lyrics telling of temples and rivers running with blood in a voice that what it lacks in power makes up for in tone, phrasing and delivery. Villata and Glenn hold down the rhythm end with solid ease, Villata's bass, rich, fluid and thrumming with gnarly distortion locking in with Glenn's tight, unfussy and direct percussive dexterity creating a massive wall of dark and intense sound. Pilsworth adds to this onslaught with fuzz drenched and overdriven powerchords while Slaymaker, when not laying down the groove with his guitarist partner, rips the air with scorching solos and clever fills and licks. The shivers are already going up the back of the spine and we are only one track in!
"Feed The Pyre" begins with Pilsworth's lone guitar laying out a heavily fuzzed mid tempo riff, he is then joined by the rest of the band increasing both the volume and the atmosphere. Vocals then enter, mournful, clean and perfectly pitched to match the brooding dark atmosphere the lyrics and the music conjure. The dynamic shifts around the four minute mark with Pilsworth hammering out a staccato palm muted motif before the band come back in with the main riff and Slaymaker lets rip with a psych drenched solo. Heavy, doom laden and deliciousy dark you can almost imagine heads front of stage nodding along in appreciation.
"Wasted Landscape" starts with a Sabbath-esque groove before shifting into a gloriously bass heavy, deeply distorted stuttering riff that recalls Slaymaker's previous band Caravan of Whores. Glenn and Villata lay down a thick bedrock of groove for Slaymaker and Pilsworth to lay their riffs and solos around with the latter also delivering yet another superb vocal.
"Ruins On The Shore" closes the album with a masterclass in epic doom atmospherics and stoner groove. Gnarly riffage sits side by side with laid back ambiance, swaying back and forth between the two dynamics as Pilsworth sings of being "among the ash and ruins of war," Slaymaker adds to the atmosphere by injecting touches of celtic colouring to his guitar motifs and solos while Villata and Glenn drive the groove with their exemplary rhythmic chops . The last half of the song sees the band moving into jam territory with the two guitarists trading solos and licks as well as harmonising, duelling with each other one minute in perfect unison the next. Hypnotic, mesmerising and totally mindblowing it causes that spine shiver that started on track one to finally hit its target and explode like a firework inside your mind..
Check it out.....