Stangala are French on a Russian label and singing in Breton (which is kind of related to Welsh and other celtic languages). They are also patently barking and seem to enjoy nothing more than dressing up as monks and doing strange dances in the woods. Barefoot. Oh and singing about fairies and dwarves. And drugs. Usually all in the same song.

Unfortunately this makes perfect sense to me…. Maybe I need a lie down?

The cover is all green and purple and psychedelic in an old Electric Wizard kind of way and first track Doom Rock Glazik rolls out a big, fat bottom end riff with a melody curl up at the end that has so much groove it sounds like Kyuss playing in theGrand Canyon. Throw in some pipes and distant, stoned vocals and lazy leadwork and the grin just grows on your face. Lovely way to bludgeon your way into a room.

Stoner Folk anyone?

Al Lidou Esoterik An Dolmen Hud (its something about dwarves in a trance I think) is where things get a bit tricky for me. It kind of begins a bit early Electric Wizard but without the bile and by the end shuffles through a passage of folk pipes and keys before ending up a bit like Sleep on an off day. This minor disappointment is spliced to a folk/mediaeval instrumental track Kalon An Noz which crackles and whines for four minutes. I suspect it is supposed to conjure some sylvan scene but it mainly just annoys and seems dropped in.

Stangala drop their big fast bottom end (!) back in on Sorcerezed and the promise of the opening is back in style with another dopesmoker of a groove. Laid back but still a nice head nodder that has a second gear hidden in it, their position midway between Kyuss/Queens Of The Stone Age and lighter drone period Electric Wizard with a sprinkling of ’60s  psych coalescing nicely.

And then they lurch into minimalist doom with the odd scream for Deus Bars An Tan which is when I feel the urge to go and make a cup of tea. Langoliers brings the boogie with some excellent network but if by now youre thinking the words inconsistent and patchy you’re looking over my shoulder.

When they hit it, there’s no denying that this bunch of eccentrics are a class act. They find a groove effortlessly at times, toss in a folk twist with the pipes and even manage the briefest bit of psychobilly on one song but that first half of the album messes with the flow. Having variation is not just commendable but vital however it feels like a very jagged trip compared to the second half.

The title track is an oddly light but of spacey stoner rock built on a very bouncy bassline taking the lead which is kind of a chill pill but still a nice one and it flows into Itzel Eo An Dour and slightly more doom waters by stealing the melody and going all cosmic. And Mij Du goes full tilt cosmic doom and whispered voices to end.

Or does it?

Yeah…. There’s a bloody hidden track. Now guys this ceased to be funny or interesting about three days after the first ever CD was released. And if it’s because said track doesn’t fit on the album, save it for an EP or a download or something. Stangala use it for a rather nice, sombre acoustic song which is a rearrangement of a song by Celtic and Breton harpist Alan Stivell. Excellent. So why hide it?

Stangala are good. Real good. But at the moment their ideas and focus are a bit like their riffs. Fuzzed. This debut for Solitude has all the flow of a Greatest Hits album but when they finally figure out what to leave in and what to leave out they will be mining gold.

Definitely one for the stoners to check out, they have the moves and the ideas and the feel just not yet the focus. Good but no cigar, not quite yet. But well worth an ear or three.

(6.5/10 Gizmo)