I have often found that some of the best music comes out of nowhere. From chance meetings, or unusual situations which present themselves to musician and inspire them. Great music, then, can be fortuitous in its foundation; but takes the vision and skill of the musicians in question to then carry it through. Such a situation seems to have occurred with this, new to me, trio Lee Van Cleef which came about as the result of a long jam session between Italians Marco Adamo, guitarist (La polvere di Bodélé), Guido Minervini, drum (Efesto, Lamarck) and Pietro La Tegola, bass (Whiskeycold Winter).
Clearly influenced by bands like Earthless, Black Bombaim, and Electric Moon the three musician have clearly clicked in a serious way to have produced an album that is worthy of comparison to these three terrific bands. The music has that marvellous balance of tightness and improvisation that mark out bands who stand out in the stoner/ space rock bandlands; an area that can be littered with all sorts of debris that often means you cannot see the planets from the asteroids. This band, however, come through like a gas giant…heavy, fluid and impossible to overlook.
The band get straight out of the traps with ‘Heckle Yuppies’ a track which quickly locks onto its destination. The guitar is absolutely away with the stars as the bass and drums keep pressing the thrusters to take you off into higher astral strata; occasionally bringing you down into a wah wah lull only to scream off again.
At over thirteen minutes, ‘Banshee’ is the longest track on the album. As you would expect from such a long track it begins serenely enough, establishing a careful and studied groove for the first few minutes with bass and drums taking the lead. Then the build up begins and once escape velocity is reach Lee Van Cleef really begin to fly. All in all a very satisfying space rock trip out into the Kosmos.
‘Hello Malo’ sets of with a great riff, more stoner in attitude; with a quicker turn around of cycles this picks up pace as the guitar absolutely soars with some great intricate work and just to seems to be able to maintain that height throughout the track before taking a toke and mellowing out into something bluesy in the way that Earthless are bluesy.
Although ‘Mahãna begins relatively ordinarily it drops into a really deep groove. This is not so much reaching for the stars as pluming the depths while at the same time having a lightness to it. This fits in with the title, Mahãna being a Tahitan for someone of fiery temperament who nevertheless shines like the sun. Indeed, this track can be seen as both, especially when it breaks out into a maelstrom of fuzzed guitar at around six minutes and takes the track home with an assured finale that is far from ordinary.
It’s not often that albums save the best for last, but I think in this case Lee Van Cleef have. I really like how ‘Towelie’ somehow knocks things up a gear, not necessarily in speed but in the assurance of the riff and the tightness of the playing (not that what has gone before has been in any way loose). It is a fitting finale to an album that gives a great deal throughout.
‘Lee Van Cleef’ is being released by White Dwarf Rock Records with a limited edition of 150 copies on red and 350 copies on black 180 gram vinyl! Inside-Out-Cover, including download card!
Release: 10.10.2016 – MP3
Release: 25.11.2016 – Vinyl