Night Lands by Dead Sea ApesRelease date: February 7, 2020
Label: Cardinal Fuzz
With last years The Free Territory, Dead Sea Apes set their stall out as a band who once in a while like to test their listener, and it took some mighty listening to crack into those deep drones that emanated from the album. With new album, Night Lands, they return with an album that, although only at three tracks long, allows for much easier access into its world. That’s not to say they don’t continue to test you, but they do let in a little light where previously it was a murky darkness.
Dead Sea Apes really are one of the country’s most intriguing bands, and quite frankly don’t get the kudos they deserve. Always game for a team up (see last years excellent Warheads album with Adam Stone), here they link in with Myrrors man Nik Rayne to perform three elongated jams. Now, if the prospect of a new DSA album wasn‘t enough to psych you out, the addition of a member of one of the prime psych bands should be more than enough to rewire your synapses. Thankfully, that‘s just what they do over the course of this album.
Gigantic opener ‘No Friends But The Mountains’ oozes absolute psychedelic goodness over its 20 odd minutes, and as the desert groove locks in, there are hints of peyote fueled excursions into the world of Huxley. Carrying a vibe which locks in everything from Sun Ra to The Doors, as the guitar continues its never-ending swirl, swathes of glorious synths colour the background striking a resolute emotion which is equal parts cinematic, and insular. Inspired by nocturnal happenings, this one is the sound of the sun going down.
If ‘No Friends…‘ was the light, then title track ‘Night Lands’ is certainly the dark as the band head into a tumultuous jam which builds on a repetitive chime until it all but encompasses everything in its path as guitars roar in succession and a roaring rhythm section plays out its intricacies against a backdrop of nihilistic night terrors. It’s final assault of organs invade your brain incessantly, rattling against your skull before Rayne takes the track into heady heights as his guitar soars out of the stew of music.
‘A Slow Heart Beats Hard’ heads straight for the cupboard marked vintage science fiction sounds and mixes it up with Tangerine Dream meets drone. The shortest jam here, it’s no less powerful in scope and stands tall against its more lengthier brothers. That said, at over 9 minutes it isn’t shirking about and requires a patient head to take in it’s myriad delights.
That’s a prerequisite of the entire album though, and going back to how DSA like to test their listener, here they are asking you to accept a more free-form approach to recording. It’s an approach which bears fruit too, and makes for yet another interesting avenue in a catalogue of music which is slowly developing into something quite special. Taken on its own, Night Lands is excellent but taken as part of the Dead Sea Apes trip, it’s nothing short of magnificent and forms an essential part of a jigsaw of music which continues to develop. An outstanding release from one of the best bands around at the moment.