Doesn’t take much more than the lineup here to peak my interest in Wet Tuna. The duo is comprised of longtime psych flayers Matt “M.V.” Valentine and Pat Gubler, better known to the double spool grind as P.G. Six. The pair have been living the Wet Tuna lifestyle live for a while now and posting some tantalizing sets up on their Bandcamp, but now they’ve wrestled the expansive experience down to a debut full length and it sees them flesh out the sound with a full band feeling, adding keys and percussion to the pair’s guitar divinations. Taken on their own (or even with his other duo in Valentine’s case) these are two mighty pillars of post echo-location soup to deal with, both riding high on damp and dank guitar licks that burrow psychedelic smolder from the ground. Together, though, they’re definitely working on an alechimical level to mind-meld their way to new levels of endorphin-chompin’ brain float.
The band isn’t messin’ around out of the gate, filling the first side of this platter with the twenty-minute scorcher “New York Street,” making a case for high-mountain firelight blues chug as a state perfect being. The album grabs hold of the ghost, lights the fuse and never brings the listener down below the horizon line. Even when the guitars cool the strings to the touch, as on the shorter bits here, there’s still a buoyant calm that keeps Livin’ The Die sublimated and gaseous, beaming in on a transistor beacon from deepest space while leaving behind an aroma that’s straight from the soil. That’s the beauty that Valentine and Gubler have wrought, the woven riffs are mossy and humid, their vocals float in a memory haze of stuffed-cotton caverns, and when the coils glow an incandescent amber, the album takes flight with a solid-state shot of sulfur and smoke that lingers on the tongue. It’s a high point in both artist’s catalog, which for two such prolific beings, speaks high of Wet Tuna’s legacy.
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