August 11, 2009

What If All the Rebels Died?

San Francisco, CA
Recorded in Sacramento, CA, by Jeepster | Produced and engineered by Matt McCordand Jeepster | Mastered by John Loring

It’s a provocative question, no doubt, but really not the one Jeepster seems to be asking. Instead, the San Francisco space rockers pose this: what’s going down on the moon’s dark side some 35 years later?

Now What If? isn’t in the league of past Floydian classics, but it does tap the same well of faceless paranoia that fancies many a pasty British chap, from Roger Waters to Thom Yorke – really, any of your typical moody geniuses with a guitar and something to complain about.

Add a healthy dose of Manchester rave culture and presto: unsettling earphone music crafted with a deft ear across the pond and a twinkling eye on the dance floor. Leadoff track “A Day in the Dark” tells all, both in title and in Jonah Wells’ beautifully stoned croon wafting across hypnotic organ lines. If you heard this in Tony Wilson’s Hacienda circa 1989, you’d think to yourself, “Geeze, sounds like The Stone Roses,” partly because it sounds a little like The Stone Roses and partly because everybody sounds like The Stone Roses when you’re popping E. “You Can’t Stop” is the soundtrack to fighting a bout of insomnia. When you find yourself feverishly folding clothes at 4 a.m., jagged pings of staccato guitar and strutting distorted bass feed a nagging hunch that, no, sleep will never come. Same goes for the haunting rocker “Fiction Fiction.” It too thrives on intangible anxiety except, this time, with a prescription for panic: “I need your friction / don’t need your fiction.” Translation: shut up and dance.

Melodic shoegazer “Sweet 1:23” and the Pixies-nicking “Ex Oh” throw alt-rock curveballs, yet lines like, “Saturn gave up the rings / she’s moving on to better things” keep with great-gig-in-the-sky theme. Dark side of the moon? Turns out, it hasn’t changed much – loaded with weird noises, slinky grooves and a bag of munchies. (Distile Records)
-Robbie Hilson

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