White Hills


And so as one comedown ends another trip begins. Just when you think that space/psyche/head music has taken things as far as it can cosmically go with a succession of repetitive, trance-like riffs, wah-wahs set to kill, fuzz boxes and overdrive pedals aimed squarely for the centre of the mind to initiate ego-death once again, there comes an album that can only force a total re-assessment of what was thought possible within these parameters.

Much like Alexander Shulgin and his ongoing creation of new psychoactive compounds, White Hills have, with H p-1 , pushed their musical barriers to such a degree that their aural journey into outer space can only mean that the universe is indeed expanding and that the effects of the dabs have been getting stronger. But to label White Hills as simple psychedelic explorers is to do the New Yorkers a grave disservice for what we have here is a collection of music so gratifyingly heavy that it can crush small to medium-sized planets in its path.

The tar-thick riffing of opener of ‘The Condition Of Nothing’ is a case in point as it sets the agenda for what’s to follow. Taking the template of late-era Loop, White Hills build the attack to truly astonishing levels as tweeters, sub-woofers and ears are pummelled into a bleeding, twitching mess. The clanging doom of ‘Movement’ may as well be the ushering in of the oncoming apocalypse and it’s interesting to note that the music has less to do with the bliss of wide open spaces and more in common with urban suffocation and an ongoing sense of inevitable dread.

‘A Need To Know’ is White Hills’ 21st Century nod to Spacemen 3’s ‘Ecstasy Symphony’ but rather than ushering the sense of bliss of their antecedents, the band instead offer the doom-laden vortex of ‘Hand In Hand’ that grimly, yet beautifully, articulates the state of modern chaos. Not that this is an album steeped in downbeat melancholia. The motorik pulses of ‘Paradise’ are topped and tailed with hisses and throbs and the effect is that of a giddy head rush at the conclusion of some weird sin.

As displayed by the epic 17-minute climax of the title track, White Hills not only distil all that’s gone before it but also show the possibility of a fertile imagination and a sense of daring as it brings us back to where we started: and so as one comedown ends, another trip begins. Brush your teeth, check your pants and strap yourselves in because this is one part of a very exhilarating rollercoaster ride…

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