Monday 25 May 2020


It seems to Desert Psychlist that there is a musical shift ,within the underground scene, towards more complexity and intricacy, even in the brutal riff heavy world of sludge and stoner metal we have noticed far more musicality and a willingness to experiment. Of course this is the norm in any scene as musicians become far more adept on their instruments and their confidence in their own abilities grows but it seems that within the underground this trend has become far more noticeable and of course welcome.
Oregon's Ethereal Sea are one such band to have grasped on to this new shift in musical values the band's first album "A Universe Far From Ours", although a diverse and delightful collection of songs, relied heavily on its crunching riffs and powerhouse rhythms to make its point. Three years have passed since then and Ethereal Sea are back with a new album, "Forgotten Memories of Tomorrow" and although those riffs and rhythms are still in place listeners will notice, as one fan wrote on the bands Bandcamp page, "a leveling up of all the characters".

Desert Psychlist has often mentioned the old jazz term "swing" when reviewing music but what does that actually mean, and how does it apply to what Ethereal Sea bring to the table with their latest opus? "Swing" is not something you can define easily but it mainly relates to the accents and inflections musicians put into their music to give it impetus, flow and feel, if someone describes your grooves as "swinging" then they are basically telling you your music has an effect on them not only sonically but physically. Ethereal Sea's grooves, on "Forgotten Memories of Tomorrow", "swing" like a cradle in a wind tunnel, they can make you want to sway, dance or just jump up and down , they are soulful, warm, joyous and have that indefinable ability to make you feel damn good.
Individually each member is on top of his game, Dustin Bartee's vocals, warm soulful and smooth are matched by his tasteful and soaring guitar work while Walter Hansen adds that magic ingredient courtesy of his tinkling keys and swirling synths. Keeping the groove nailed down hard but also with a certain amount of pleasing liquidity are Richard Boone (drums) and Cole Johnson (bass), the former driving the band on with a dazzling display of dexterous drumming , the latter expertly locking down the groove with some thick syrupy bottom end, all four together a force to be reckoned with.

Swinging, soulful, a touch psychedelic and with just the merest hint of country rock edginess and blusesy swagger "Forgotten Memories of Tomorrow" is an album light years ahead of its predecessor, "A Universe Far From Ours", and marks a huge leap in Ethereal Sea's development.
Check it out …. 

© 2020 frazer Jones

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