Monday, November 2, 2009

Review: Espers III

III (Drag City)

Espers have been honing the balance of the mystical sound, be it woodsy, or cosmic, for their more-than-5 years together. On their III - the guitars scratch and moan, bend and sway, in that psychedelic space-rock manner, but are coated nicely with the ornate spill of a violin and the flickering strum of an acoustic guitar - as vocals wisp away in austere melodies ("Caroline"). With all this sepia-toned imagery, it's hard for me to avoid the word autumnal - the singing style, these sometimes breathless deliveries or dipping melodies, makes the words feel weary or chilled, like the early onset of winter - but given this trippy/dizzy vibe by the strangely scorched tones excavated via guitar on "The Road of Golden Dust," where the bewitching melody of the music is enough of a chorus, that it doesn't even need words.

Whereas this may be "psychedelic"-esque, it's never too weird or wavy, the key is their subtley and orchestral overlay of multiple guitars and measured percussive rolls with massaging bass. Musically, the septet is undoubtedly explorative (as some tracks reach and surpass the five minute mark) but somehow, none of them seem to go too far off the deep end. It is, also undoubteldy, a very folky-autumanl feeling experience - balanced enough by it's mysterious more rock-leaning side to appeal to both: the woods and the cosmos.

More info at
Drag City

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