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coverpic flag US - Oregon - Full Moon 76 - 12/19/02

Yume Bitsu
The Golden Vessyl of Sound
K Records

Listening to music and being stoned. Making music and being stoned. Rock music and altered states of mind are often interwoven, especially in the case of all things 'psychedelic'. But rarely is there a record that conveys that feeling of being disorientated and yet completely comfortable in the sound surrounding you, the rush of the new knocking you off your feet while the familiar catches your fall.

Yume Bitsu are from Portland, Oregon and this is their fourth album. I can't say whether The Golden Vessyl of Sound is indicative of the sound of their previous records. All I can say is that I want to hear more if they're anything like this swirling beauty.

It's difficult to strike a balance between 'exploring' and 'noodling'. How do you engage the listener and take them somewhere they've never been before? Well, a good start is to dispense with song titles. Unlike Sigur Rós, Yume Bitsu have given their album a name, and a strange story on the sleeve. I'm not entirely sure what it means, but the mythology of 'moth men' seems to crop up on the album highlight, track seven ('Beyond the outer reaches of the city in the sky/The moth man carried him on gilded wings/The crown prince of Drysstan has died' - you get the picture).

What you've essentially got here is a mix of Pink Floyd, early Verve, and loads of other shoegazey bands like Ride. It's a potent blend of guitars fed through innumerable FX pedals, synth washes, tribal drums, and occasional harmonised vocals that shine through the mix to glorious effect. It's a bit prog rock, but manages to get away with its indulgences by being so wonderfully melodic.

If you want a decent modern psychedelic album to toke to then this is worth checking out. It even sounds good when you're straight - the ultimate test.

I'm off to check out their back catalogue...

Copyright © 2002 Tim Clarke e-mail address

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