The thing that is most enjoyable about Japanese psych rockers Acid Mothers Temple is not just their love, nay worship of the guitar like it’s some kind of fetish object, but also their either total lack of understanding of excess, or their total understanding of excess and desire to pursue it as excessively as possible. Words like overblown can’t do their music justice as they grind their squealing repetitive riffs over and over to the point of mind numbing exhaustion. It’s quite curious. Their music doesn’t end. The shortest song on this four track disc is 10.48 and the longest 24.07. And not only do they continue, they escalate, building upon the riff, attaching noise like barnacles until we’re 12 minutes into a searing emotional psych noise freak-out. But it doesn’t start like that. The riffs begin quite gently, highly repetitive, with these ghostly vocals and space invaders synth oscillating around spookily. It’s a gentle esoteric psychedelia that draws upon elements as diverse as Neil Young when he’s getting to solo over a Crazy Horse who keep churning over the same riff, or even the trippy violence Hawkwind . It’s impossible to concentrate on, the repetition draws you away into yourself, till you reawaken and realise that you’re pretty much where you left off. The progressions do come eventually but if you sit and wait you’ll go mad. There’s something incredibly constrained about the repetition, because suddenly after what seems like years they’ll elect to kick out the jams, build up, and that’s when the sky isn’t high enough. Their recipe is simple and incredibly effective. Chill. Tear your face off. Then chill again. Their label is calling this their first summer album, but I think this album is more about time, as their music has a tendency to warp and confuse your senses until you’re no longer sure how much time has passed, or even whether it matters.
Though the riffs are hypnotic and repetitive there’s somehow a vague feeling of aimlessness in the stasis. It was recorded quickly in a few days in two separate sessions and some of the songs do feel like glorified jams. There’s nothing in the music that grabs hold of you bodily at the beginning and demands that they know where they’re going. Personally I think that’s part of the charm, you either give yourself over to them at the outset wherever they go, regardless of intent and embrace the length, repetition, and at times hilarious bombast or you slink unhappily away.
Bob Baker Fish