Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sundial – Acid Yantra

Though I have never been much of a drug user, I have always been a sucker for good stoner music. Not mindless jams like the Grateful Dead, but extra sensory rock like early Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother, Hendrix, and newer bands like Sundial.

Still another group that brother Lutz turned me on to years ago, this is the one record/CD that I’ve managed to hold on to. I know there are a number of other albums, but I’m not overly familiar with anything else.

Basically the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Gary Ramon, Acid Yantra provides ethereal moments mixed with some rockin’ pieces, great guitar tones, and super playing by the 3 piece band.

“Red Sky” opens with quiet, spacey guitars, but the song plays a lot with dynamics, with loud choruses and melodic lead pieces, which seem to be somewhat of a trademark for Ramon. But he’s not afraid to rock out when he feels the need and “Apollo” blasts out of the speakers with power chords and plenty of guitar riffing and lyrics about turning his mind to mush – which sounds like what he’s trying to do to the listener! Drummer Craig Adrienne and bassist Jake Honeywell are super accessories to his vision and lock in with his grooves at all times.

Acoustic guitars dominate “3,000 Miles”, but with plenty of wah-wah guitar riffing over it for texture. While the acoustics stay the main rhythm, the soaring vocals and leads build and create a real feel of motion and Gary travels the 3000 miles – at least in his mind!

A wave of feedback opens “Are You Supernatural” and a heavy, pounding riff and throbbing drums marks one of the most rockin’ numbers on the record. More groovy use of dynamics and some terrific sounding lead guitar creates a fantastic number.

Even more upbeat is “Bad Drug”, with a movin’ beat, great melody, catchy chorus and still more fine guitar playing snaking within the tune. The band returns to real psychedelia with “Fly Into the Sun” - a quiet, acoustic number with memorable vocals.

Starting with an echoed guitar chord progression, “Roller Coaster” takes you on a ride from the psych-funk of the verses to the power of the choruses – fine stuff! Pink Floydian keyboards accentuate “Nova”, another quieter psych number that has a guitar jam in the middle of it, not unlike PF in their Meddle days. This basically fades into “Yantra Jam”, which is what it sounds like – a psych jam but with plenty of layers of guitars and even flute that keep it interesting throughout.

This is an excellent example of what can be done in this genre in the modern day – and you don’t have to be stoned to appreciate it!