Songs of Eta Carinae tempers a large helping of dark psychedelia with enough catharsis to keep it from becoming tedious.
The Legendary Pink Dots would be proud -- their once-unique brand of psychedelia has officially been co-opted, and well, by Denver, Colorado's Orbit Service. Songs of Eta Carinae (dedicated to the dying star of that name a mere 7,000 light years from you and me) is the second album from the group, and they do the restrained narrative thing quite well, allowing as much darkness as they can to seep into the mix before they blow it into little itty bits with well-placed catharses. Opening track "Wolves" is one of the best to be found on the album, as it puts the entire Orbit Service package in a convenient, four-and-a-half minute candy wrapper, but the centerpiece is the astounding, eleven-minute "Asphyxia". "Asphyxia" does the meandering psychedelia better than anything else on the album, perhaps because it is in no hurry to get to its little explosions, and its three-minute beatless ambient epilogue provides respite from all the heavy sentiment while maintaining the high artistic bar. Occasionally, Orbit Service falls into the trap of not allowing their songs the space to develop, and little experiments like "Closed Circuit" come off as a bit pointless, but for the most part, Songs of Eta Carinae is deeply absorbing work.