The last two albums I’ve reviewed (RMFTM and ORE) have been brilliant but really intense and difficult to listen to. So what I really needed was something that was more a celebration of music, something that was a joy to listen to, something to get into a real groove with and just feel happy to be alive. Well, thanks to Andy over at the Dayz of Purple and Orange website, this one dropped right into my lap and I loved it from the word go.

Photo by Robin Levet

The marvellously named ‘Frank Sabbath’ are a four piece from Paris (the French one), comprising Jude Mas (guitar, voice), Baptiste Reig (drums, voice), Guillaume Jankowski (bass) and Léo Minart (sound engineer, voice); and this, their third album, is effectively four separate tracks that give a nod to four different approaches to psych music… and they do it in a manner that is so free and fluid that playing this album becomes a bit addictive.

The opener, ‘Goat’, is a total freak out that starts on a mad cacophony and just screams off into the far distance with a fuzz-laden riff that locks in and really doesn’t let go, apart from the various interludes, each of which in itself marks a different psych influence. This is an absolute monster of a track that for the most part heavy… and that riff, I just can’t get that one out of my head.

With my skull suitably pummelled the next track ‘Lazarus’, is a longer but, initially, no less heavy number that gradually settles into a more considered structure. Here the band’s playing ability really comes out as the stoner jams gradually shake down into something more progressive. On one level you can really feel the intensity, but once you’ve listened a few times you begin to appreciate the intricacies that are going on behind the scenes. I figure that, given the band’s preference for live jams over rehearsal, that these songs are similarly recorded… in which case this is an even more impressive record than it initially appears… and first impressions were pretty good.

‘Take The Lead’ sees a further change of pace. Here Frank Sabbath kick back and explore more experimental pathways, some of which could even be described as bucolic. There is a certain jazz element to this music, and some really chilled out grooves, especially when the guitar kicks in…  but given what has gone before this is a real surprise and an absolute joy to hear musicians exploring such different areas within the same record. Gradually, though, the band pick up the pace and intensity to the extent that when the vocal kicks in there’s a real power to the track as the band take it home brilliantly.

Finally, and certainly not least, is ‘Sasume’ which is a fantastic homagé to Japanese psychedelia with some brilliant acid guitar. This track is a total face melter that just builds as it progresses… whether the lyrics are genuinely Japanese I really have no idea but they add a certain authentic element to the proceedings and as the organ kicks in at the end the album closes with a mighty flourish.

This is an ace album for many reasons, but I thing I like about it most is that there is so much going on in each and every track, which in themselves are so different to each other. The breadth of musical styles on display here is quite stunning as the band push themselves through their paces in a way that seems so free and natural. ‘Are You Waiting?’ is a total breath of fresh air for me and at the moment I can’t breathe in enough of it.

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‘Are You Waiting?’ is available now on CD and D/L from the Frank Sabbath bandcamp here, and Bermuda Cruise here.

 

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