(All Album Reviews by Bungalow Bill)
I'm very pleasantly surprised by Beyond-O-Matic's fourth release, Time To Get Up. (For the record, I should say that I haven't heard any of the bands earlier releases—The Flight of Luis Garcia (1994); Sonic Reclaimator (1996); and Your Body (1998)—although I now plan to.) I'm not sure why there's been a twelve-year delay in releases but I'm also not that curious because the quality of the present album is exquisite…so let's just live in the now.
I can't tell from where Beyond-O-Matic [BOM] originates or where the mothership currently resides. I'm guessing astral plane or Alpha Centuri, although the Web site tells me to contact the band in Texas. That's a little prosaic, given the interstellar nature of the tunes, but I guess all space travelers need a home port. As far as I can tell, the current line-up includes Reverend Peter Fuhry (vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, with apparent expertise playing the "long stiff finger of doom"); Stenzo (keyboards); Frankus Evictus (drummer/percussionist); and David "Ginger" Gresalfi (vocalist and "musical presence").
Basically, I'd call BOM's art too-cool spacerock. Not "too" as in precious or affected but "too" as in it's cool and then more cool than cool—an excellent, trippy and impactful blend of songcraft and supra-stratosphere.
If the love-child of Jon Anderson and David Gilmour replaced Syd in Piper-era Floyd and then decided he (she) wanted to sound a little more like Gong, he'd (she'd) have to write the first track, "Plague of Bliss," which has an achingly, hauntingly beautiful alto vocal line over a plaintive guitar strum and some hypnotic effects (and over nothing else). The vocal is stark but poignant and works all the better with the minimalist accompaniment.
If The Bee Gees (circa mirror ball and fine cocaine) gave up disco, joined Ozric Tentacles, and relocated to Maui (with plenty of Wowie in the suitcases), the end product would undoubtedly be "Hawaiian Lady". I know…the juxtaposition sounds unpalatable but, trust me, it is amazingly tasty. How can spacerock be so funky?
I'm sure you get the point. Yes, it's spacerock, with everything you love about it tossed into the salad. But BOM is multifaceted, like The Flaming Lips can be…which garners no complaint from me.) And, there's so much else added in, including perfectly moody vocals and smart arrangements, that you can't ignore the tracks, each of which has something rewarding and catchy about it. Along with the two tracks mentioned above, I'm fond of "Starbong" ("That's what we're on"!!!); "The Liquid of Midnight" (a lush, Beach Boys-esque, a cappella offering); and the closing track, "Child of Fog". But I basically groove on the whole album, start-to-finish. And did I mention that the lyrics are impressionistic, clever and esoterically suggestive?
So, if you are a fan of spacerock and want it atmospheric rather than blistering, give Time To Get Up a try. It's clear to me that the band has fun making this music and there's a certain psychedelic genius in effect here that gives me the ananda smile!