Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Litmus - Aurora

A couple of reviews tonight that originally got written for print magazines but got squeezed out through space considerations. Ha! That's a pun, you know! But seriously, though...

For anyone who has been following London-based space-rockers Litmus in recent years, and thanks to endorsements from the likes of Julian Cope that’s an ever expanding audience, their third album is an absolute treat. For though this band has sometimes been tarred as being too obviously Hawkwind influenced, Aurora says that they’ve broken free of convenient journalistic shticks with a contemporary sci-fi swish that might be possessed of elongated improvisation but is based on solid verse, chorus foundations.

Two years back they released Planetfall, a juggernaut heavy rock album that obscured the more thoughtful parts of their work. They’ve avoided repeating that here by recording the guitar/bass/drums at Foel Studios in Wales and then overdubbing with well-judged keyboards back at base. Saturating their basic sound in this way has produced an immensely satisfying album of warmth and depth.

Whilst Litmus are happy to pay homage to the extended riff, they’re always in control of their destiny by being able to bring their music right back into focus as songs, so that the epic bookends of this record, ‘Beyond The Sun’ and ‘Red Skies’, have hooks that pay-off throughout their driving majesty. ‘We are kings of infinite space’ they chant. Quite right.

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