The past few years have been illuminating in terms of seeing how some of the lo-fi set have grown up and out of the nest that sprung them. With Ariel Pink embracing the warmth of ‘60s sunshine and The Soft Moon going full Nine Inch Nails lately, there’s a lot to be said for taking the seed of sound and blowing it up bigger than before. So, with that in mind its interesting to see former Pink collaborator Gary War back after five years with his first new LP in the post-hypnogogic comedown. War (nee Greg Dalton) doesn’t entirely emerge from the shadows he’s lurked in, but he does give the sound a good fleshing out with a crack backing band that features members of Sunburned, Pigeons and Bobb Trimble’s melted psych circus.
War has also played with Trimble over the years and he seems to have taken a page from Bobb’s tendency to dig his heels into psychedelia’s weird end while still giving it a bit of instrumental sparkle. Same goes for underground legend R. Stevie Moore, and there’s quite a bit of this record that brings to mind his classic Glad Music. Like that bit of warped wax, Gaz Forth is full of shaded psych-pop that’s whizzing by in dazzling double doppler-effect, dropping snippets of the ‘60s that seem just out of reach – was that some Tull-era flute or maybe it’s Moody Blues, some ELP organ ramp-up – we’re never quite sure.
What is for certain is that this is Dalton at his best and it’s probably the most realized version of what Gary War sounded like in his head all those years. Coming out just a bit from the cloud of hiss that’s permeated the project brings out a glittering array of colors in his work – right before the band takes a hot iron and smudges them at the edges, that is. On Gaz Forth Gary War is spreading the smudge to the widescreen though and it’s never sounded more alive.
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