Saturday, September 28, 2013

Album Review-King Bong-'Space Shanties'

Location:Milan, Italy

Label:Moonlight Records

If you like your music as mad as a box of frogs and as stoned as Cheech and Chong on 4/20, then chances are you might dig Italian trio King Bong.Listening to 'Space Shanties', even sober, is a mind bending experience.Epic, doom-infused hymns to the weird and wonderful, the cosmic and bizarre, it's a fantastically fucked up, genre hopping sixty minute trip to the far corners of the universe of the mind.Drawing in influences from psychedelic rock, jazz and stoner doom, the Milan instrumentalist outfit deal less in  traditional songs than tripped out sonic voyages to the beyond.

From the chorus drenched intro to 'Even Fifty Foot Hamsters Have Feelings'  to the closing, burnt out squall of the penultimate 'Cthulu', 'Space Shanties'  is a  blast.Recorded live, with no overdubs, the album has a pleasingly raw quality that can be missing from a lot of modern psyche.Much like countrymen Prehistoric Pigs,KB play a brand of raw, epic , almost punky psychedelic rock that demands to be heard live,preferably stoned to the nines with a cold beer in hand.Picture early Sabbath on Zappa's drugs, as crass a comparison as that may be it's the closest you can get to an accurate description of the free form madness of King Bong.The album also pulls off the trick of being jammy without ever becoming monotonous or too self indulgent,a lesson you really wish they'd pass on to some of their peers.There's also a healthy experimental bent, another trait Bong share with Prehistoric Pigs, time signatures being fucked with continually, and some clever and effective use of pedals to create some rather tasty sonic textures.This is 'stoner' music in the proper sense of the word, smoked out, tripping balls and toasted, nicely toasted. . .

With modern stoner rock fast becoming awash with self referential cliches,it's refreshing to hear a band that doesn't merely go through the motions in C Sharp as so many others do, and it also points to the strength of the Italian psyche/stoner/doom/scene right now, with great bands like the aforementioned Pigs, Ufomammut and now King Bong pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved within the realms of stoner/doom/psyche.Parental advisory;may contain fuzz.


For fans of: Stinking Lizaveta, Prehistoric Pigs, Summer Baccanalia, Jimi Hendrix

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