By Tommy Hough, SDAM.com Staff Writer
©Copyright 2018 SDAM.com/Tommy Hough
Okay, first things first, "Smokey Hair" kicks ass, and does so by not
necessarily blowing you out of the room. If you think "trance" music can only be accomplished
in electronica, the first few minutes of One Little Shot In the Eye may make
you fold up your synthesizer. Can't tell you if it's danceable, but "Smokey Hair"
is the kind of dangerous groove that comes out of incessant jamming, and it's also
one of the few songs I've felt compelled to play REALLY LOUD this first time I heard
it. Like the Cure's "Fascination Street" or Concrete Blonde's "Bloodletting," it feels
as though other forces are at work, and any California band that can transport me
to a steamy, humid, thunderstorm-rattling midwest night deserves a big nod (or plate
of chili spaghetti and Reds season tickets).
"Smokey Hair" seamlessly and smartly tracks into the passive aggressive "Passive Aggressive," where the band My Bloody Valentines along with a cool Something/Anything stereo trick and a great opening line: "Jesus you know you love me...through that toothy smile." Could do without some of the overdone Filterisms, but the song jams over a trippy, scrappy guitar "plate" recording, which sounds so out there it's like the actual amp signal isn't even in the final mix. Good feedback breakdowns and a punchy rhythm moves this bit of Interstellar Overdrive into the disturbing, sizzling fat soundscape of "Tnnius," and forgive me, this comes out of left field, but the creepy boiling fat of "Tnnius" reminds me of accounts I've read about the apocalyptic 1943 fire bombing of Hamburg by the Royal Air Force. I doubt that's what lowcloudcover were aiming for, but I'll leave it at that (nose around on the Web for more grisly information about said bombing if you must). If it was meant to be disturbing to a guy on his way to Vons to get bacon, it worked...I took the broccoli instead.
From there, One Shot In the Eye goes into some very dreamy modes - sleepy modes in fact - on the mellow mood piece "Succinylcholine," and though I know ambience is the goal, this track could benefit from a few extra beats per minute and a mildly more alert melody with less meandering, though I have a feeling "Succinylcholine" and the follow-up "Carousel" work better in live settings where the band can feed off the audience's energy. Very good music for chasing lunar eclipses down Japatul Valley Rd., but may not be the best for those looking for songcraft or hooks or reasons not to turn on the gas and seal the windows, though "Carousel" builds to big climax with harmonies remarkably reminiscent of...the Association. Yes, that Association, and that's a compliment.
"Love and War" gets back to the lowcloudcover business of rocking arena-style, again harking back to some kind of midwestern vibe by channeling Crack the Sky circa From the Greenhouse with plenty of gutsy, moody prog-rock to welcome any wandering UFO into your backyard. The boiling "105 F" (up 6.4 degrees from the opening track) soundscape white noise ends the EP on a suitably alarming note, since fevers reaching past 105 degrees for any sustained amount of time typically leave your brain in a permanent state of disrepair. Vegetables notwithstanding, there's some raw weirdness going on in lowcloudcover's sound (sorry to hear about the swiped equipment guys), and as far as experimentation goes they're nearly "fearless." My advice? Keep reaching for that big Tool in the sky. Recorded at Sven-Erik Seaholm's "suburbohemian" Wonderment of Wires Studios at Kitsch and Sync Production in La Mesa.
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