The sophomore LP from L.A.’s Grave Flowers Bongo Band tracks the same kind of Marc Bolan progression from ‘flowers in your hair’ psych-pop to the amphetamine glam that would follow. His last LP was wild in the fields, but now the drum circle has closed and from the center the band’s pop rises freakish in the footlights. With Ty Segall behind the boards, Gabe Flores’ latest batch of songs glows blacklight bright, flashing a luminescent lust and radiant electricity that turns their former folk ripple into a taut ‘70s psychedelic stomper. Not only does the album seethe with a renewed hunger, but its flows from one track to the next, hardly taking a moment to let the sweat steam off of its matted brow.
While not a concept album, Strength of Spring hearkens back to the interconnected, full flow LPs of The Pretty Things and King Crimson, pushing back on the singles sway and making a renewed argument to the album as artform. The close-mic’d acoustics ring in the foreground while the squelch of amplifiers rises on the horizon. Rhythms run with a wild percolation, and it’s clear that both Flores and Segall have been digging into the opulence of guitar’s dominance over the ’69 – 72 period when big swings were coming from bands looking to expand the ideas that underpinned rock and pop at the time. On one level you’ve got to buckle up for a record with bookend callback tracks “Inner and Outer Bongolia,” and the resin is deeply baked into this one, but the band makes an excellent case for the blown psyche burndowns and the breathless charge of voltage vamped mayhem.
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