If the dearth of the mighty King Gizzard of late has left you with a hankering for Aussie scuzz and heavy fuzz then ORB’s got you covered in Gizz’s gap year. The Aussies are still pining for the days when Sabbath, Leaf Hound and Blue Cheer were chugging ozone to fuel half-stacks of growlin’ fury, but this time they’re letting some lighter obsessions filter to the front as well. The band’s appreciation of nascent Pink Floyd (before the crack swallowed Syd whole) is prominently on display here along with nods to fellow travelers of the ether Kevin Ayers and Gong.
Occasionally the album reminds me of the great lost psych of Zior in balancing heaviness, heat and meandering space, but there’s also a thread of the Black and White years of BÖC in the mix. While in lesser hands (and even on earlier ORB albums) the sound could devolve into slavish devotion to the force of fuzz but the band have instead created their most nuanced and cohesive album in embracing a wider field of view. The record slashes and breathes, coaxes and cools before summoning all the occult fever on full view in the ‘70s.
No matter how much they lighten the load, though, we’re still all here for at least a few crushing riffs. Thankfully those are still plentiful on The Space Between. From cosmic blues to dirty proto punk, ORB have an arsenal of smoke-choked guitar grit on lock. The hook with ORB is that they’re pulling together the threads of heavy psych into one place, crafting records that have as much reverence for the innovators as they do for latter day refiners of amplifier sickness. The band has never sounded as surefooted as they do right here. This is ORB at their best and its great to see them reach this level.
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