Strangers From The Far East by Khana Bierbood

Release date: January 10, 2019
Label: GuruGuru Brain

A peculiar hybrid of English psychedelia, blues inspired garage rock and eastern mystique, Khana Bierbood follow in that rich seam of bands emerging from the Far East. This time, instead of Japan, it is Thailand which we find ourselves meeting as the Strangers From The Far East introduce themselves on their debut album.

Racing off the stops at breakneck speed, the sheer exhilaration you feel on first hearing this album is somewhat unnerving. Once you have had time to digest what is actually going on you start to discover an album which is very rich in flavour. The band may do a good job in displacing you through their use of found sounds, and the evocative charms of a busy Thailand street becomes a backdrop for some rather lysergic happenings but it’s through the familiar that we are able to meet them halfway.

The blink and you might miss it opener of ‘Rustic Song’ is something a red herring in that it is barely an introductory track, rather than a full song. It does warp your mind somewhat though, as the sound of motorcycle horns are replaced by the garage rush of ‘Starshine’. From now on in its pedal to the metal as the gleefully deranged sound evokes surf rock, Nuggets era garage rock ,and a classic 60’s jangle. That they are singing in Thai is neither here nor there as you swiftly get dragged into the swirl.

Highlights are the rush of ‘Bad Trip’ which literally blasts you like a hurricane of jangly guitars. ‘Dusty Lane’ is a more tempered approach with its wonderful riff and, as the album seems to settle into a more chilled out version of those early tracks, the lovely ‘Bangsaen Lady’ provides some much needed breathing space for us to find ourselves once more.

Seemingly over before it’s begun, half the joy of this album that it doesn’t give you time to get bored. It’s breakneck momentum achieves a calmer edge later on but one suspects that this is just a respite before they gear up for their second album. It’s a trippy experience, made all the more heady by the magnificent way it displaces you. On this debut album, Khana Bierbood have done more than enough to prove themselves worthy of that wonderful seam of music travelling from the Far East and we wait in anticipation for further jangles from the outer zone.

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