- TOP TEN PICK OF THE YEAR -
Epic stoner-rock is either mind-blowingly brilliant or utterly self-indulgent. After all, if it weren't for the collected works of Rick Wakeman, Yes, and Genesis, our world would not have Avril Lavigne. Prog of the 1970s is easily the greatest atrocity afflicted upon listening audiences. (Don't waste our time writing an irony-laden letter about how great that stuff was, slappy, because it wasn't, my friend.)
The ideas of long jams that are trippy and psyched out lived on, though, and when mixed together with other musical styles or ideas, it can sometimes produce great results. Daystar starts off innocently enough, with the quiet, meditative "Gold." From this innocent point, "Those Things" starts to find the record moving into heady, Verve-like waters. By the fourth track, things are heading off into British psych-rock territories with the "isn't that a Verve song title" titled "Still Shine On," a ten-minute jam-out that doesn't "jam" which takes you through the best ideas of My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized, The Verve, and whoever else had a few good ideas here and there. Oh, I mentioned Spiritualized? I shouldn't have. Well--it's odd, because while there are hints of that great band, I'm hearing a lot more of a similarity to Lupine Howl, the bitter Spiritualized-spawned offspring. What does that mean for Lab Partners? It means that we're talking about a great band that's throwing in all kinds of trippy shit to traditional rock music and coming out on top of the heap.
By the time you come to the middle of Daystar, "Sensations," you've already spent a half-hour of your life, and it ain't over yet. From this point, Lab Partners set the controls for the heart of the stoned and dethroned, and you really don't care, because it's one helluva great trip--a quietly loud trip that finds Lab Partners picking up where their inspirations left off, creating a sound all their own. The song remains the same, but it's totally original in the hands of Lab Partners, and traditional rock sounds never sounded so original! It's all about bending and reforming the ideas and never ever ever ever ever does this 73 minute trip sound heavy or slip into a boring rock groove.
Daystar is the exciting rebirth of rock and roll. It's trippy and heady and smokey and stoned and dark and meant only to be heard in bars and clubs with the lights down and 15 minutes before closing time and there's a kind of a hush over everyone, the party's over but it's only 2:00 AM, the day is but young. Thankfully, so are these guys. Ladies and gentlemen, you are floating in rock.
Hey, slappy, get your floppy-haired ass up. Hey, are you listening? We're talking top-ten record here--and not one damn trace of the MC5, Stooges, or Lou Reed is to be found.
Thank god for that.
- Joseph Kyle (mundanesounds.com)