Thursday, September 17, 2009
Of Sound Mind
One thing I’ve noticed about the kind of cosmic doom that’s the stock in trade of bands like Ancestors: it’s usually much more impressive live than on record. The recording studio often blunts the impact, making the lengthy, deliberately paced riff crunch more boring than it ought to be, while the stage loudly highlights the deliberate intensity. Which is a roundabout way of saying I wasn’t expecting much from this Ancestors record. I saw the band at SXSW a year or three ago, and was extremely unimpressed. The L.A. quintet seemed bored by its own music, and if they didn’t care, why should I?
Of Sound Mind, though, is a different story. I don’t know if it’s my lowered expectations or what, but nearly every song here has the textural weight, melodic heft, psychedelic tinges, melancholic beauty and sheer power that I was hoping to hear that night at the music festival. Mother Animal, Bounty of Age and The Trial balance fury and fragility, sighs and supernovas, with rare skill. I obviously caught the band on a bad night, because Of Sound Mind is stoner space doom done just right.
- Michael Toland