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This curdling daydream of a record shares some obvious affinities with Oz groups like F ingers and Fabulous Diamonds, and fans of those outfits' work will find plenty to admire in it. But, for all its bootlace-thick reverberating basslines and possessed choirgirl vocals, Red Rose and Obsidian's stoned centre of gravity is not dub or post-punk, but psychedelic rock. As with Dire Wolves (whose Oceans of Green, one of our favourite LPs of the year, not one c**t has bought), Million Brazilians apply not only time-honoured Cale/VU drone-logic to their earthy, draft-dodging acid ragas, but a more contemporary ambient/electronic sensibility: as such, they’re able to take us deeper down the (white) rabbit hole than their longhair forebears’ technology, sanity or studio time (delete as appropriate) permitted.
Apparently inspired by the rugged coastal landscape of Maine, where they recorded, the Portland duo tap into a well of uncanny and atavistic unease that in fact feels pretty universal: ‘Dark Clouds Gather’, with Suzanne Stone’s pagan-priestess trills and coos are cast adrift in tradewinds of flute and synth, draws a line through Desertshore, Brannten Schnure and the fin de siècle electronics of Cyclobe. It’s a shame that the album’s strongest musical statement - the undulating space-jazz minimalism of 'Geodelphic Empathies' - is capsized by the lumpen musings of Maine poet Toussaint St. Negritude (“Behold the stardust heavings of skybound applause…"). Beatniks, eh. But it's the only misstep on what is otherwise a thoroughly engrossing LP that swells to a powerful and irresistible climax: the hypnotic, handdrum-driven ‘Traversing The Violet Skies’’s finds a sweet spot between Organic Music Society and The Beach Boys’ ‘Let’s Go Away For A While’, and ‘Behold’’s unravelling into shamelessly hairy, saxually-liberated groove-rock is well-earned, well-judged and well good.
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