This was an exciting surprise announcement a few weeks back, as the band’s 2020 LP was one of my top albums of the year. The band comes screaming back into the tail end of 2021 with the same kinetic snap and their foot clamped down on a familiarly frenetic pulse. What made Spirit Rejoin such an instant classic was the band’s mix of polyrhytm pound, scorched jazz, and and almost cult-high spiritual soul that felt celebrational and ecstatic. The band instantly locks back into that energy on opener “One With Nature,” almost as a continuation of what they’d laid down on the last album, but this is by no means a didactic follow-up to their last record. Instead the Italian band swerves towards notes of the Cosmic Americana that’s threaded through the past few years — finding themselves lighter and looser in some places — but also leaning towards that dark undercurrent of ‘70s kosmiche and cosmic jazz that locked onto the turbulence of the times and became a conduit for release.
The band skates the razor between jam and jazz here, boiling their elixir down to a thick paste that’s potent, but poisonous in the wrong hands. They share a bit of headspace with Goat, and by extension their offshoot Djinn that created another of the year’s necessities, spinning rhythm into rapture, just barely skirting the abyss while they map the vortex of din and destruction. The album sways in a firelight ritual right up until the burn marks settle on the solo in “Here We Gong,” which pushes the album through the psych curl, ending on the two-punch party of “Freaky People,” and “Woodstock.” The band lays out a quilt that connects Mwandishi, Agitation Free, Düül, and Gong to the new bloods like Garcia Peoples and Tonstartssbahnt. This band seems to be constantly bubbling beneath the necessary radars, but with Freaky People, they prove again that ears should be locked here. Don’t let the late-year release shake ya, this one’s a ’21 heavy to be sure.
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