[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(39:11, Longview Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Zoe Abides 2:25 2. Grand Larceny 2:56 3. Hey Nikki 2:04 4. ESP 3:09 5. Mission over Tokyo 2:35 6. Paradise in Canada 4:11 7. Julie's Way 3:49 8. Lil' Pumpkin Porsche 3:25 9. After You're Gone 4:55 10. The Life and Times of General Jacket 3:17 11. Sputniks May Safely Phase 2:16 12. The Ritual Dance of the Lizards 4:09 LINEUP: Bill Bechtel – guitars; Mellotron; vocals Robert Redmond – bass Ed Lowery – drums With: Mark Prator – drums Jeff Braden – guitars Ryan Danger – percussion Josh Young - bouzouki, banjo; backing vocals
Prolusion. The US act MY WILD HEAVEN consists of the threesome Bill Bechtel, Ed Lowry and Robert Redmond, and with the help of some musical friends they had their initial self-titled release ready back in 2008, issued on the indie label Longview Records.
Analysis. Debut albums are something those who write about music encounter a lot. For every band that is ready with, say, their second or third production, there's at least one other who never managed to do anything but disband following their initial CD. As this debut effort by My Wild Heaven was distributed some three years after its release, at least if the copyright date is correct, one might hope that this particular band is one that may continue on for a bit longer. As far as debut albums go, My Wild Heaven isn't a spotless, shining specimen that comes across as brilliant though. And as far as readers of www.progressor.net go, neither is it one that can easily be placed in the heartland of the art rock universe. If anything it is floating way above, somewhere in space most likely, albeit quite a far bit removed from the space cadets hovering directly above, allegorically speaking. Short, concise and rather straight-forward compositions are the forte of this band. Pace-filled and aggressive in a proto-punk manner, mid-paced hard rock with eccentric details akin to the likes of The Who or dampened displays referencing the less elaborate maneuvers of Blue Oyster Cult cover the main aspects of this band's repertoire compositionally and structurally, with some grittier garage rock tendencies to boot, which kind of come naturally in this particular setting. The lead vocals have a spoken-like quality, sometimes dampened and sometimes almost shouted in more of a punk manner. The bass and drums are steady keepers of pace, albeit the latter does offer up some intricate patterns on occasion. The key ingredient that may make this a production of interest to fans of progressive rock is the Mellotron. Mournful themes or fluctuating richly-layered textures that come with natural associations with futuristic movies and science fiction books is a constant and almost ever-present feature, sometimes applied as a backdrop crafting a richer and warmer overall arrangement, more often than not as a dominating presence that carries the song from start to finish. Not in a space rock manner, I might hastily add, with only occasional visits to landscapes closer to the likes of Hawkwind, but more like a futuristic coating added to songs of an otherwise simplistic nature, a similar approach to Hawkwind perhaps, but even more basic in nature and spirit. An enjoyable CD that may well lack the elegance and sophistication of a true-to-life progressive rock production, but that might yet be appealing due to the energetic nature of the songs and, obviously, the extensive use of Mellotron throughout.
Conclusion. If you love anything with Mellotron, My Wild Heaven is a band and an album you'll most likely want to experience at least once, as the use of that instrument is a vital ingredient in this case. Apart from that, a probable target audience for this act would be those who listen to CDs by The Who and Hawkwind on regular occasions. In particular if said persons also have Blue Oyster Cult on their list of bands they are fond of.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: November 25, 2011
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]