RSTB has had no lack of love for New Haven guitar-wrangler Kryssi Battalene (Headroom, Mountain Movers, Medication) over the years, and with her latest she’s only letting that love grow. The guitarist spent some time in Japan in 2018 and surprised legend-in-his-own-right Kawaguchi Masami (LSD Pond, LSD March, Aihiyo) at a solo show. The two made a connection and eventual plans to collaborate. Thus, a new version of the New Rock Syndicate was born with Battalene and Kawaguchi trading off on guitar and vocals. The record pushes both through new terrain, showing off their ability to flash fry a riff, but also a more mercurial side to both. While first couple of tracks light the wick on amp-toasted explosions, “Drown” finds them wading into the haunted mists of Ghost or Cosmic Invention.
The band only tumbles further into the cosmos after that. The guitars become more entangled and synths begin to swamp the speakers. On “Shadow of the Earth,” Kawaguchi takes the reins for the first half, letting the band wander through a nebulous darkness that stares out at the upper edges of the ionosphere from a position rooted in the mossy shade of gravestones and gravel. Battalene brings things down softly to the ground with her own haunted croon on the second half. “Pieces of You” closes out the record with a shuddering tumble that threatens to bring the whole thing crashing down around the listener. The record is a layered, seething mass of psychedelic throb and both artists prove that their individual, indelible forms only multiply when they’re together. This ones a limited platter, out on New Haven’s own C/Site. Fans of either artist should grab one while its there. Definitely too good to let this one go.
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