Friday, April 12, 2019

Record Review //
Gel-Sol
"Horse Head Bookends"
(Verses Records)


$20 //
https://versesrecords.bandcamp.com/album/horse-head-bookends //

As the door opens and closes you can hear footsteps and then the sound of plugging into an amp.   Space static and then we get into these darker synths like something out of Star Wars.    Cymbal crashes bring about this sort of classic rock metal vibe.   It's trippy, but you could skate to it.   Then the synth tones come through in a different way but we're still thrashing along.   This is such a unique combination of sounds, coming through in layers to give off a full band feel.

There are dark, lightsaber type synths and then higher piano key sounds before an audio clip comes in about being dominated and abandoning the emotions of a human being.  This is fun like a classic sci-fi movie and then it kicks in all trippy and smooth, kind of like Pink Floyd.    Pieces of this remind me of a video game as well, one where you would fly around in a spaceship and destroy aliens.

The sound winds and feels like it could kick into something, somewhat robotic, but it also just feels like we're on this journey through a sci-fi film.    Oddly enough, it then goes into an audio clip about how there will be robots walking around in the future and, I mean, it's not wrong.  Synths come through now like Yves Malone-- a real Knight Rider feel.   There are also some frequency whirrs in here as it all builds and builds.

A wild video game feel now with those Wall-E robotics mixed in.    It's funny how for what this sounds like so far (not really a rock album per se) it can still make me think of both The Who and Rush.    Aliens are speaking through now but I cannot understand what is being said.   Softer tones come through now and then we slip into some drums like Nirvana.   Some sharper tones come through as well and feel like a guitar.    We get into some really funky bass now.   This just jams.

Slowly now, we wind and whirr into the outer reaches.    Some wilding drumming here with what sound like animals at the zoo making noises as well.   Brief video game blips behind it all as well.    At the end, it says "Please fast forward the tape to Side B" which, quite honestly, is a suggestion I wish many cassettes I reviewed would actually give me (I've listened to more dead air than some people have listened to music)

On the flip side a voice says it's nice to see us again (Editor's Note: It's nice to see you too) and then says they'd like to tell us a story: have you ever been trapped?  This goes into these smooth grooves which remind me of being a tropical island with drum machines and not being trapped at all.   It has that synthpop rock vibe to it as well, where if you added vocals it could something like Neon Trees.

Within electronic lasers and trip beats we are hearing a story about Pedro taking his goose to church but that is about the extent of the story so far.   I'm thinking of the Flaming Lips in here now too.   Horns come in like an electronic jazz and this somehow becomes industrial.   I'm not sure how that transition was made without it seeming more apparent, but here we are and I'm loving every second of this.

Audio clips are spliced together and then everything fades to just a piano.    This grows and almost has a banjo feel to it.   As these sounds fade a drumming comes in which could either be like Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People" or Green Day's "Longview".   Keys come in now in a dramatic fashion and it feels like we're about to go into an episode of "Doctor Who".

Drumming and the guitars keep this idea of this being something like Rush or the soundtrack to a space war at the very least alive and that just adds to the overall feeling of this record.   It is one which less of a collection of songs as it is a collection of mini-albums within an album.   This does not happen often and when it does it is not easy to do without feeling like you're listening to one album forever, but here is the bar to which future albums of the sort must be set. 

As we hear the applause there are some notes put into space like that one Porno for Pyros song and dark pianos accompany them.   There is a build behind it.     Slightly dreamy, slightly country it just winds on through now.   The electronics come through like computers with the otherwise deserted rock feeling.   It reminds me less of how that band Dishwalla sounds and more of what they explain their name as meaning.    A little splashing in the water and some bongos now as we can reach the end feeling as if we've washed up on shore.








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