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Majutsu No Niwa

Frontera

(there-Musik Atlach; US: Import; UK: Import; Japan Release Date: 30 Oct 2009)

Rising from the ashes of Tokyo’s underground psych kings the Overhang Party, Majutsu No Niwa offers few surprises on their sophomore record, Frontera. The opening track of droning feedback and sizzling cymbals smolders perfectly, but after that, the album takes a more conventional psych rock approach. Sheer instrumental prowess carries the first few rocking tracks, but after that, the album slides, with the cheesy eleven minute rehashing of bluesy cliches (“Journey to the End of the Night”) and an indulgent, solo-laden snoozer (“Majutsu No Niwa”). “Thousands of Nights, Thousands of Days” could be a reworking of Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger”, but there’s nothing to source it, so it looks more like a rip-off than a tribute. The shoegazy “Night Cruise” offers some redemption, but then squanders it over nine long minutes. The closing track, which echoes the opener, is well done as far twenty minute noise jams go, but it can’t quite make up for the disappointing middle tracks. As with so many psychedelic albums, this could be fun to listen to in the right state of mind, but without some mild chemical enhancement, its length outstrips its substance.

Rating:

Emma Sun plays and listens to music in New York City, where she is a graduate student in cultural anthropology. She grew up in Milwaukee, WI and graduated from Smith College in 2007.


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