Opening with what sounds like the whine of Captain Kirk’s phaser set on rock, it’s a fair bet that Italy’s own Kayleth are going to take the listener on a voyage into the outer space territory of Hawkwind aboard the starship ‘Space Muffin’. Opening track ‘Mountains’ does not disappoint, fuzzy hard rock riffs blast out whilst the impulse engines of bass and drums power the flight forward, theremin whines whizzing back and forth between the speakers. Yes gentle reader, set your controls to destination freak out, and let the noise wash over you.
‘Secret Place’ follows on and the throttle of the engines is opened up to warp factor stomp, the track being near guaranteed to have fists pumping, heads banging and hair flying, the relentless beat being interspersed with a more than suitably dirty guitar solo. If the intentions of the band were in any doubt, the next track ‘Spacewalk’ hammer home the intergalactic message, a heady mix of computer speak, trippy instruments, and the spoken count down of an astronaut’s oxygen count dispel them. This is Major Tom for the Monster Magnet fan, the gently psychedelic giving way to a hard rock pummelling. A harder edge follows in the opening bars of ‘Bare Knuckle’, before about halfway through this six minute number the THC apparently kicks in, a far mellower vibe taking over, the fist in your face vocals becoming laconic and laid back. The stoner vibe continues throughout ‘Born To Suffer’, before the pace again ups with ‘Lies of the Mind’, the band creating the hard sonic wall that was a trademark of Solace, a sound that just screams to be blasted at full volume from a wall of amps into a beer soaked audience.
As a perfect closer to ‘Space Muffins’ is ‘NGC 2244’, both an ultra bright cluster some 5.2 light years distant, and a lyric free number in which the keening vocals become just another layer of instrumentation, hypnotic electronic loops lulling the listener into hyper-sleep for a journey to the constellation Monoceros where that spacial phenomenon resides. Having piqued my interest with the title, I went online to find some remarkable images of said astral body; if the band hasn’t done so already, projections of these images would make an excellent back drop to their stage show.
In their bio the band cite the likes of Kyuss and the UK’s own Orange Goblin as influences; whilst the former is no longer active and just a subject of back and forth litigation, the Goblin boys may well find a fine touring support in the form of Kayleth when they next venture to Italy. Failing that, if 2001: A Space Odyssey is remade with a the Blue Danube Waltz replaced by rock, Kayleth will be definite contenders for inclusion on the sound track. With almost a decade of playing and recording under their belt, this may be my first exposure to the band, but I’m hoping it will not be the last. Damn, but my list of back catalogues to check out is getting longer by the day, and it’s only January!