III by NaxatrasRelease date: February 16, 2018
Greek heavy psych trio Naxatras have steadily built themselves a comfortable base within their genre over the course of two albums, with album number III cementing that place. That they have done it on their own terms, rather than following the lead of many of their peers, with a sound which takes a much more subtle route over the usual intense efforts at blowing minds, is all the more impressive. There’s room for both obviously, but once Naxatras get you in their psychedelic grip, you find yourself wishing you could stay with them forever.
Mainly instrumental, III is bookended by lyrical turns. Mood setting, rather than offering any lucid explorations, it offers a familiar musical template before descending (or should that be ascending?) into a world of blissed-out vibes. Carrying a heavy dose of Pink Floyd along with it, Naxatras use that influence in liberal amounts, especially through the liquid guitar playing. The pace is laid back and easy, with the emphasis on the chilled rather than the intense. They are almost a mirror to the general perspective of heavy psych.
Singling out individual tracks is pointless as each have their place within the album as a whole. ‘Land Of Infinite Time’ performs its duty as the sprawling centrepiece where all the elements come together, but it’s perhaps the blissed-out ending of ‘White Morning’ and ‘Spring Song’ which surprises, with its 70s’ influenced easy rock vibe soaking through the strummed mood. Elsewhere you get the lose your mind, albeit very gently, during the excellent ‘Machine’ and ‘Prophet’.
There are few bands doing psych this way, and even less who get to nail it as good as this. It’s an album which not only grows on you, but in you too, becoming a part of you. Its warmth evokes belonging, whilst its tripped-out moments allow you to steadily float from the humdrum earth to a higher plateau. In fact, there is nothing which you could find wrong about this album, with the whole being a perfect circle of the elements within. It’s a minor classic which offers a chilled-out option from the usual spaced-out intense affairs that the genre is known for. Both styles are good, Naxatras own theirs.