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(34:41, Small Stone Records)
US band TIA CARRERA has been a part of the psychedelic rock, fuzz rock and improvisation scene in their homeland ever since 2001, with five full length albums to their name in addition to some singles and EPs. The EP "Visitors / Early Purple" is their most recent production, and was released through US label Small Stone Records in the spring of 2019. This is the first new material to be released by the band since 2011. What we have here is instrumental psychedelic rock of the harder and darker variety, clearly improvised in nature, and if these recordings are live or live in studio is hard to tell. Long time members Jason Morales (guitars) and Erik Conn (drums) are complemented very well with relative band newcomer Curt Christenson (bass) here for some dynamic and vibrant displays, albeit perhaps not material of the kind that will find favor with too many dedicated progressive rock fans as such. A stable and solid groove is the backbone of both of these elongated improvisations, with a drummer delivering steady beats with slight details and alterations coming and going and the bassist delivering a core melody in a loud and booming manner. Both of them in support of the lead guitar, which dominates the proceedings. We are treated with one bombastic number and one a bit more careful in overall mood and delivery here, both of them obviously groove laden, with the opening 'Visitors' revolving around sharp and vibrant fireworks guitar soloing and effects, while the second cut 'Early Purple' calms down the intensity from time to time with reverbs, textures and a mode and delivery not quite as much in your face. The legacy of vintage doom metal an obvious source of likely inspiration in the core sound, and the psychedelic details rather hard to miss on both tracks. But while the groove is infectious and the guitar soloing and guitar effects are vibrant and compelling, the more uniform overall sound here is one that probably will have something of a limited appeal among fans of progressive rock as such. That being said, if you like your instrumental, improvised hard rock with vintage doom metal undercurrents, enjoy guitar soloing and guitar effects used to produce a vast array of fuzz-laden psychedelic landscapes, and you enjoy experiencing a solid groove accompanying guitar antics as briefly described, Tia Carrera is a band you should check out, and this latest EP of their appears to me to be as good a place to start as anywhere else.
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