How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This trio merges remembrances of black-light rooms, bong pipes, and cries for peace with a modern psychedelic vibe, leaning heavily toward Indie-rock as a catalyst for its overall game-plan. They craft a massive but fluid sound via crunching chord developments, weighty backbeats and Kathleen Kelley's willowy vocal delivery, tinted with beatific overtones. Indeed, it's a transcendental experience. Yet the group funnels a sense of antiquity into a modern looking-glass. Aided by multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood's (Yes) vintage mellotron and Moog synth work and other guests, several of these pieces may be conducive for airplay on the college or satellite radio networks. Kelley, who also plays guitar, projects an alluring presence in contrast to her zinging lines amid some effectively placed studio echo.
"Dark Daisies" is a piece that may be akin to Black Sabbath- lite with fuzz-toned guitar, bone-crushing chords, and 60's style acid rock lines. Other pieces are designed with pulsating straight-four grooves; Jonas Canales' rumbling drums and Kelley's psycho guitar licks that resonate with authority. However, "Magnets" is built around a dreamy hook and background electronics effects that help populate the soundscape. But they turn the volume up a few notches during "Minute x Minute," melodically contrasted with Kelley's tremolo vocals and whispery choruses. She uses the sitar on "Animal Battle," producing a simple lead line to parallel the decades-old infusion of rock and East Indian music, spearheaded by The Beatles and sitar master Ravi Shankar. Hence, Griffons at the Gates of Heaven is a baby boomer's delight, although this band professes more of a novel slant with the vestiges of the hippie generation.
Track Listing: Forward; Mirrorball; Dark Daisies; Rose; Spaceship Ride; Man or Moon;
Magnets; Blood in the Water; Whatever We Spend; Minute x Minute; Animal
Battle; Cautionary Tale.
Personnel: Katherine Kelley: vocals, guitar, sitar; Jonas Canales: drums, Korg,
percussion, vocals; David Daly: bass guitar, vocals. Billy Sherwood:
Mellotron, Moog; Tom Klimchuck: acoustic guitar (10); Jurgen Engler:
audio oscillation (5, 6).