Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Platoon - Magic Lantern

Magic Lantern
Not Not Fun Records  NNF 190

I first heard Magic Lantern on KXLU and was excited by their trippy sound.  I tracked down a copy of this album and was surprised to see that Cameron Stallones was in the group.  Stallones is best known for his work under the name Sun Araw and has justifiably received much acclaim for his adventurous music.  I used to work with Stallones in a film-related job.  It was obvious that he was destined to go places but I figured he was going to be a successful filmmaker not a cult rocker.  If I had known he was going to make terrific records like this one, I would have been nicer to him back then, ha-ha.  The album opens with my favorite cut "Dark Cicadas" which is a hard riffing tune that sounds like a lost Hendrix jam except that the guitar playing is not nearly as good.  It is energetic though with some compelling distortion and it holds my interest throughout.  Like all the songs on the album this is an instrumental aside from some howls from Stallones.  "Moon Lagoon Platoon" lays noisy guitar and keyboards over a hypnotic riff and some indecipherable singing from Stallones.  It reminds me of "A Saucerful of Secrets" era Pink Floyd.  The A-side concludes with "Planar/Sonor" which is another Hendrixian jam.  It is the hardest rocking song on the record but I find it less exciting than "Dark Cicadas" although I do enjoy the cacophony that results.  The B-side kicks off with "On The Dime" which sounds like jazz fusion akin to the Mahavishnu Orchestra driven by a straight ahead riff with the distorted sound of the guitars and keyboards noodling on top of the riff preserving the psychedelic sound of the rest of the album.  It is a lengthy workout but I find it consistently stimulating.  In contrast the closing number, "Friendship," starts out as a drone.  As the song picks up steam a more pronounced riff emerges and builds in strength as the instrumentalists focus in on it with their solos.  It reminds me of Can.  This may not be the most original album out there (I think Sun Araw is much more inventive in his sound) but if you are a fan of psychedelic music, this album should push all your buttons.  Recommended to fans of Wooden Shjips and Dead Meadow.

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