So here we are, year winding down and the band is still just short on their promise of five albums between the bookends of 2017, but number four is here and I’ll give it to them, it’s impressive nonetheless. Still got more than a month to go, so who knows? They swerve the impossible tangle of release schedules with a free release of Polygondwanaland digitally and stir up some noise by giving the album to fans to release if they choose, even going so far as to package up the production files on their site. So keep an eye out for about seven new labels to try this one as their cornerstone kickoff or choose one of the at least 6-10 others I’ve already seen floating about. Still, how does the actual album stack up against their gamut of songs from the past 300-odd days gone by?
The record orbits closest to Murder of the Universe, packing a psych-crush that’s doom-soaked and wandering into at least one spoken word breakdown, but it’s far less frantic than that album. It doesn’t go for full reinvention or concept as we’ve seen from Flying Microtonal‘s scale restrictions or Brunswick East’s jazz digressions. But what the album becomes is a solid entry to the band’s full-on prog canon, following most in the footsteps of high water mark Nonagon Infinity and picking up lessons from the various rungs on their catalog ladder along the way.
It’s full of atmosphere, feeling like one of the most uncluttered versions of themselves since they stripped it all back to acoustics back in 2015. However, Polygondwanaland is definitely no exercise in niceties, it has plenty of bite under a rippling shell of glycerine psych. Squelch fights for space with buzzing synth lines and the band’s now almost expected arpeggiated guitar lines, with vocalist Stu McKenzine floating overhead like a prog prophet of medieval doom. Flutes and acoustic strums pull the choke of darkness off just long enough to let the closer tear everything down to the puddle of blood that KG so often elicit. This is a solid entry to their catalog and, I suppose we should all feel a little pride. After all, apparently it belongs to all of us, eh?
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