Exploded View

Obey

Sacred Bones

Oct 18, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


This improvisational four-piece has given way to a slightly less improvisational three-piece, now reduced to Berliner and bandleader Annika Henderson and her two Mexico City bandmates, keyboardist Hugo Quezada and multi-instrumentalist/producer Martin Thulin. Exploded View have taken the captivating and raw synth-psychedelia of 2016's eponymous debut and added certain refinements; most notably setting aside the live/improv approach for structured and deliberate songs captured in a more traditional studio setting (Thulin and Quezada's studio in Mexico City).

It serves the group well. The unfettered, trance-like aesthetic remains well intactHenderson's detached and druggy vocals, the distorted and droning electronics, pulsating beats and rhythms all conspiring to capture the listener in some smoky Warholian warehouse scenebut taking the time to flesh out the songs offers a satisfying variety in instrumentation and arrangement.

Opener "Lullaby" is soundtrack fodder, swirling synths and strummed acoustic guitar accompanying Henderson's wordless vocal theme. "Open Road" is like some garage Emerson Lake & Palmer cowboy ballad for space travelers, built on a plunky and droning bass groove, that strummed acoustic again showing the power of overdubs and conscious arrangement. "Sleepers" is a shoegaze experiment, adrift in blazing synths and fuzz guitar. "Dark Stains" is more Factory Records than Warhol's Factory, all militaristic electronic beats and stuttering arpeggiated synths, Henderson's repeated refrain of "I believe you" growing ever more insistent as the song and album crescendo and climax.

For all the studio/refinement talk above, the collection remains unrepentantly raw; some of the easy touchpoints/comparisons like Stereolab or Broadcast become a little too sterile to reach for, scuffed up with the grit of Berlin and Mexico City, and more than a little rock & roll attitude. More likely it's an unfiltered nod to psychedelic, mind-warping sources like Pärson Sound or Sliver Apples, the cosmopolitan cool of The Velvet Underground, and almost certainly to the mere idea/importance of a buncha friends making a proud racket. (www.explodedview.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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