Monday 15 May 2023


We at Desert Psychlist are not 100% sure but we think Alconaut, the subject of this review, could well be the first Corsican band to be featured on these hallowed pages. The band, Georges Agostini (guitar/harmonica/vocals/keys); Kevin Albertini (bass) and Antoine-Joseph Marini (drums). hail from Bastia in the north-east of Corsica and started out by playing covers of songs by Sleep, The Sword and Fu Manchu which then led on to them composing their own material and in turn releasing their debut "Sand Turns To Tide" three years later. Of course then along came a global pandemic and put paid to things like promotion, gigging and touring but thankfully that period is now behind them and with a new album in the can, "Endless Skies", and with the world once again opening up, Alconaut could well become Corsica's most noted export since Napoleon Bonaparte.

 "Causality" a brief instrumental mood piece, consisting of drone like effects accompanied by shimmering keys, opens proceedings then slams straight into "Slugs" a stuttering bass heavy stoner/desert tome underscored by punchy tight percussion and washes of textured keyboard over which is delivered a clean vocal melody tinted with just a hint of laryngeal distortion, its damn impressive stuff and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Next track up is "Lost" and where the previous track rode a desert/stoner/hard rock path this one throws in everything from off centred bluesiness to stoner metal swagger and sees searing and tasteful guitar solos facing off with raucous ragged bass refrains against a backdrop of powerful and thunderous percussion, Agostini adding a growlier edge to his vocal in order not to be overwhelmed in the onslaught. Up next is the "Ascending" trilogy, three songs divided into three separate movements entitled "The Departure", "Journey" and "Endless Skies" each movement possessing its own charms and individual merits and each an intriguing mixture of post-rock languidity and crunching stoner heaviness, the band showing that the desert rock aspects of their sound owe as much to the sonic explorations of Yawning Man and Colour Haze as they do to the fuzz pedal fuelled filthiness of Kyuss and Fu Manchu. Its back to firing on all fuzz for "Icarus Down" with Agostini's guitar and Albertini's bass combining to deliver a myriad of jagged and raw refrains over Martini's backdrop of pummelling percussion, Agostini's vocal, impassioned and powerful, a perfect match for the musical ferocity being unleashed around it. "Gelmir's Path" keeps the momentum going with a chugging hard rocker packed to the gills with stuttering guitar and bass riffs and is driven hard by some incredible drumming from Martini while final song "Earthbound" finds the band mixing post-rock and prog textures with elements of the blues and heavy psych in an atmospheric and emotionally charged instrumental that is both uplifting and melancholic in equal measure. 

"Endless Skies" is a seriously good album from a seriously good band who have a lot going for them, the guitar and bass tones on this albums more ferocious numbers are as good, if not better in places, than any you will hear on albums by some of the scenes more established bands and when they lay out loose and languid they do so with a skill and aptitude that belies their relatively short tenure as a working unit.
As Corsica's most famous native once said "Until you spread your wings, you'll have no idea how far you can fly", well Alconaut have spread their wings, now watch them soar.
Check 'em out ....  

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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