Mondo Drag - The Occultation Of Light
One of the things I am searching for is a platonic ideal of a post-Barrett, Live at Pompeii era Floyd space rock album. This album isn’t quite that - but that is no knock, after all, even Floyd themselves never quite got there. But the more I listen, the more The Occultation of Light convinces me that they are close to it. Perhaps that ideal underlies this album somewhere as a substrate of dark matter?
From the first organ burbles that emerge out of silence, this album is a dialogue of opposites. Light and dark, obfuscation and revelation, all alternately drifting and driving. Initiation tells us that the end is coming - the blood red sky tells us the journey we have begun here has a preordained conclusion. By the time we reach Rising Omen, we are at times moving in a stately procession, marking perhaps the movement of the heavens, other times adrift in deep space. In The Eye, precise crystalline drops of sound gather force slowly and become a raging torrent.
Musically these guys wear their influences on their sleeves, and the organ certainly is front and center, but for all the references you will hear to Deep Purple or EL&P, Occultation really lets their psychedelic side run free. This is no exercise in excess, however. This album is never boring, with another musical surprise is always just beyond the next star. In fact my favorite moments are the most mellow, like the moment of becalm in Dying Light, liquid warm bass lines gently rocking our vessel, acoustic chords breaking on the hull like waves, guitars quietly keening like distant gulls. I could float there forever.
It feels like Mondo Drag have captured here a more masterful album than their self-titled predecessor. While previously there was much fun to be had in the likes of Plumjilla or Shifting Sands, in retrospect they start to look like juvenilia. It's all down to the greater subtlety in dynamics, to my ears at least. These guys have played together for a long time, and the album was recorded hot of the heels of touring. It shows. I missed these guys last time they were in town, but I won’t make that mistake again.
- John Gamino - Vocals, Organ, Piano, Synthesizer
- Nolan Girard - Rhythm Guitar, Synthesizer
- Jake Sheley - Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
- Ventura Garcia - Drums, Percussion
- Andrew O'Neil - Bass Guitar
Label: Riding Easy Records
February 26, 2016