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The Lava Children

The Lava Children EP

(Graveface; US: 26 May 2009)

The Good Kind of Mass Wasting Event

“A mind blown is a mind shown.”
—Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, 1967

The Oklahoma duo of Sherri West and Taylor Clark are onto to something special with their debut mini-album. Through five highly refined tracks, apparently in the works for some three years time, they evoke Brian Jonestown Massacre meeting the United States of America somewhere in the middle, with Cibo Matto’s Miho Hatori fronting instead of Anton Newcombe’s inflated ego. You can barely understand what Sherri says most of the time, and it doesn’t really matter. The zonked sound compliments her broken mic vocals perfectly, achieving a form of tripping sunshine acid absurdity long thought to be extinct.

Recorded in a lucky Altadena garage, tinted a bleached beige by the blazing California sun, this woozy eponymous EP doesn’t merely sound like it could have been recorded in the late ‘60s. It sounds like it actually was recorded at that axis of pure music influence and pioneering analog experimentation, then lost under the passenger seat of a Volkswagon Westfalia for 40 years, rediscovered by accident in the search for an errant roach.

Every time I hear this EP, I’m taken back to moments in my childhood, listening to the oldies station and hearing all the psychedelic masterpieces for the first time. The Lava Children don’t merely channel the aesthetics of a bye gone era; they have the same spark of original expression and focused aural exploration that made the ‘60s a time of unparalleled creativity. There is no need to sacrifice a virgin; this is the guitar sound you’ve been praying for.


Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.

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