GNOB are a three-piece from London (Nicholas Serpico: Guitar and Vocals, Morten Sharp-Head: Drums and Percussion, Ben Kenobi-Marflar: Bass Guitar) who were new to me before the release of this, their debut album. However, with a number of singles and EPs to their name (check out their Bandcamp for these) since 2015 you certainly get the feeling that they have been building up to something. That something is a nine track psych rock record that draws on many influences, and not just those within what you might called the ‘Western tradition’… their approach is far too eclectic for that.
What is a constant through this album, though, is the power. This is a record that screams out of the speakers from start to finish, the energy palpable as you come to terms with the intensity of this set of songs as they hit you like a series of sonic juggernauts. Yet the road that they hit you on is not one that you might expect. As I have already suggested this is not a run of the mill sort of three piece rock power trio, although that element is certainly there. But, there is more going on here as the band take you through a high octane trip through Eastern and Middle Eastern rhythms coupled with fuzz guitar (soooo much fuzz) and more traditional rock structures. This, apparently, comes from the band travelling through Indonesia and coming into contact with indigenous and spiritual sounds from that region.
What’s more this seems to increase as the album progresses, so while early tracks seem to owe more to the blues guitar of rock artists gone by, ‘Flowers and Rainbows’ and ‘Dancing Plant’. While the later ones see a definite shift to more esoteric structure and sounds; the tipping point for me being ‘Freedom 45!’ which is a humdinger of a track that is everything you want a blues/ psych/ rock track to be, yet by the end is ploughing a much more inscrutable furrow signifying what is to come afterwards… and certainly by the time you get to ‘Genie the Raggini’ and ‘Snake Charmer’ the transformation is complete.
‘Electric Demon Dream’ is like dropping a sonic psychedelic as the music gradually slips out of its cultural moorings and into areas that feel less familiar and more fluid. The move from fuzz-laden stoner to free-flowing soma is a subtle but evident one if you compare the beginning of the album to the end. Yet throughout is this solid power that drives you through the set keeping you just about on the rails and stopping you from flying into the hazy ether. Very cool!
Like most Drone Rock releases, “Electric Dream Demon” will be a super limited run of 300 copies (with 60 of these going directly to the band) split into two variants:-
150 copies pressed on green and purple side a/side b split-coloured vinyl. As always, these will be offered to mailing-list subscribers and previous customers first.
150 copies pressed on purple vinyl
You can pre-order the album, and stream it, at Drone Rock Records.