katla-embryo-cdIf you’ve ever heard Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine”, you’d recognise the start of this one. “Psychedelic” is the word that’s normally applied to this sound. The style then deviates away from straight rock to a different kind of crusty and woozy 70s sound, complete with a female vocalist whose delivery recalls outdoor festivals, The Old Grey Whistle Test and hippiness. Cosmic tones return to accompany the floatily metallic guitar work, and we’re through with “Horsehead”.

This album took its shape over “a weekend of recording and walks through the woods”, we’re told. This is not music of the city. It’s got a organic feel but it’s also nicely produced with cool guitar vibes, those cosmic moments and the almost haunting tones of the vocalist all combining nicely. The guitar work on tracks like “Eat Sleep Die” is just so 1970s, but that’s not to say it’s not invigorating or feisty in its rock-driven style. The lady’s tone has a folksy feel about it. The title track presents a different side: clashing cymbals, moodiness and a kind of a mix of post-rock and The Gathering. The lady reaches to the sky with her quirky vocals, and puts us in a trance. “Embryo” is an unusual, calm and thoroughly bewitching and dream-like track. You can almost smell the drugs in the dark and atmospheric “I’m Your Queen”. I preferred the clearer air of the equally moody “Circles”. Although the songs are different in their construction and style, there’s a clear mood and image which runs through them. This makes the album all the more enjoyable. “Embryo” follows its course on top of the floaty clouds it creates, occasionally breaking out into storms and always noteworthy for the colourful instrumental work. The pace is picked up on the final track “A Black Slimy Smooth Tongue-Shaped Form”. Now we’re in real cosmic psychedelic rock territory. It seemed a bit much for the lady’s vulnerable tones to bear but it was great to have such an adrenaline-filled ending.

“Embryo” is a nice album, delivered in an interesting way and true to its aims.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)