While the “Guillotine” single gave some indication of what Hoover III had in store, it was hardly a proper warning for the Space Rock wormhole that unfolds on their eponymous debut. Along with members of Babylon, Numb.Er and Jesus Sons, the full band sonic assault is a beaut to behold. The band is huffing the fumes of Hawkwind and Amon Duul and likewise crawling through synth wires alongside Eloy and Sensations Fix. They digest a decade’s worth of prog, Krautrock and psych then work it into a modern monster of Echoplexed infatuation. I use the word debut sparingly, though, because this has been an album working in the wings for years. Many of the songs are found in their infancy on Bert Hoover’s lo-fi tape Destroya from 2015, but those versions sound like transmissions across a vast and unflinching galaxy once the entirely of Hoover III is let loose its atomic wail.
While many of their contemporaries sluicing through the same skies tend to lean into the clutch on their approach, belching fuzz and ozone explosions that deaden the senses, Hoover III are going for a more elegant approach. There’s still the necessary deluge of fuzz from time to time, but for the most part the band plays to the audiophile sensibilities of a ‘70s prog shut-in. They’re going for complex mind expansion on the ol’ Quadrophonic and the clean burnin’ blasts feel good on them. In that regard, they’re running through the same grooves that gave Meatbodies’ Alice such appeal last year. Being in the Permanent family this is coming from the same soil stained by Ty, Purling Hiss, Mind Meld and The Witch Fingers, but there’s a tendency to push into the pristine plastic prog of early aughts bands like Soundtrack of our Lives and Secret Machines. At the very least they’ve landed on the same planets visited by Black Mountain in their years in the cosmos.
There’s lots to unpack in listening to Hoover III and it’s a damn fun ride with some truly glowing moments. There’s a lot of crossover when bands sidle up to Space Rock, but as psychedelic, progressive and propellant as this album is, it’s never simply a prog, psych or Krautrock album. The correct combination of those particular forces gives the album that lift off of the terrestrial plain. Plenty reach out for the handhold on the genre, but it takes a bit of skill to land the grip. Hoover III nails the launch and lives to burn through the weightless decadence of a true Space Rock treasure.
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