Somehow the fact that all songs were “recorded at the Dome by Brian” propels the whole thing that bit more spaceward. Who is Brian? Where is the Dome? Maybe these things are best left undiscovered.
Well if there ever was a record to send you sideways into the Realm of Kublai Khan, it’s this bugger. Like some monstrous reclining Buddha blocking the M6 near Stafford, Carlton Melton’s latest record is supine, immaculate in its imperturbability, not going anywhere fast soon. It’s about as horizontal as rock can get. And in being so, it knocks a whole lot of similar records, including some of their own – into a cocked hat.
Somehow the fact that all songs were “recorded at the Dome by Brian” propels the whole thing that bit more spaceward. Who is Brian? Where is the Dome? Maybe these things are best left undiscovered. What I do know is Brian helped cook up the opener; Nor’ Easter, which is a beautiful riff-bound glide, with the guitar licks sending signals through the song’s DNA like ripples in a pool. Things get fuzzed out a bit but the essential conceit is the same all the way through. And all the way through means 12 minutes of your Earth time. The title track is another bliss-out, but this time inhabiting a more aerial space; it floats around like some drugged up elf hanging out in the tree at the bottom of your garden, unsure whether to stay or go… That comparatively short 6 minute (and Spiritualised-style) interlude is followed by Space Treader, a track which means business, especially when the ELO style guitar lick starts to lasciviously preen itself around 3 minutes in. It carries on charting the same path through some wormhole, albeit with some wobbly synth and a few chord changes that are laid on with the veritable worker’s trowel, but hey that’s what the situation demands.
Mein Gott, we’re only half way through… And the Gong-like opening of Wingspan should see you give up any notion of doing anything again. Another floaty thing, it relieves the gargantuan 1mph cod piece rock of the previous track with some balmy and inconsequential doodling: (maybe there’s some Neolithic male-female stones at Avebury thang being played out for us here), and the ending gets all Thighpaulsandra on us too; which of course is no bad thing at all.
All this pales into insignificance when compared to the 22 minute Adrift, which is about as crushing and as final as the Fall of Constantinople. It’s just huge, floating around the ether like a monstrous, saggy barrage balloon filled with unwanted guitar reverb that didn’t have anywhere else to hang out. Things start to build up about 15 minutes in: we advise you to be psychically aware at this point, and gird your cosmic loins, ‘cos otherwise you’re going to be a real mess, Yeti... Luckily Smoke Drip is the gentle head massage you need after the intensity of Adrift. A bit of a two bob Yogi session replete with veggie naans, it sounds like some elderly groover playing his Pink Fairies records one last time. It’s just what you need at this point
Astonishing. You won’t come back if you play this too much.