On the face of it, this looked very hippy trippy with references to ayahuasca-inspired music, Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead and Spiritualized. So I prepared for a spaced-out experience.
I thought Mike Oldfield had taken over when I first started listening to the opener “Cut and Paste”, but it quickly deviates into the expected woozy, dreamy soundscape. It’s rather nice. As a calm wind drifts around, the instrumentalists provide a lush scene, not unlike the hazy world of Astra. The vocals have a staccato quality about them, but are pleasant. There’s definitely a 1970s feel about this as we float away into a psychedelic-prog dream land. “Master Architect” is another extra-terrestrial sensory experience. Cosmic waves vibrate through it, as a calming sonic experience fills our space and mind. It’s hypnotic with plenty of brain-twisting moments, including a wonderful saxophone passage. I felt so relaxed after listening to this music, which is the sort of thing that would have been seen as a discovery on The Old Grey Whistle Test. It’s very imaginative. Synth and rock solos then sweep through the otherwise unexceptional “Rainbow”. I think it’s the 70s organ with its unique willowy and melancholic feel that make this so retro. Oh, and the fuzzy guitar, which features on the strange but distinctly backward-looking “No Rest for the Wicked”. After floating along for five minutes, a tribal drumbeat and trumpet take us to another fluffy magic cloud. The vocal pattern is chant-like. I was disappointed that this track ended. The trumpet, drum and vocals make the latter section mystical. The chant becomes a mantra as “Paravati Valley” clearly has its origins in Hindu spiritualism. This lends itself perfectly to Superfjord’s brand of retro psychedelic prog. You have to be prepared for the repetitive pattern, which reinforces the hypnotic sensation. For some reason “Paravati Valley” reminded me of Shakti’s “Ever So Lonely”, but it is more powerful than with its deep progressive flavouring. We return to the western world, or at least Superfjord’s hazy version of it, for the final track. “Rainha da Floresta” is now symphonic before heading off into cosmic rock.
Superfjord take us on a trip, literally. It’s a trip back in time, where to borrow their album title “All Will be Golden”. I sensed the passion of the band for what they were doing, and all credit to them for that. It’s a good listen even if you’re like me and old enough to think that this must be a re-release and remix of some spaced out thing you heard 40 years ago.
(7.5/ 10 Andrew Doherty)