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Review: The Spacious Mind – The No. 4 Or 5 Gravy Band (released February 11, 2019)

It’s been a good time for fans of veteran Swedish psych rockers The Spacious Mind. Last year we got the excellent compilation The Drifter from Trail Records, and early this year we got the surprise release of a brand-new studio album The No. 4 Or 5 Gravy Band. Released in various vinyl editions and as a digital download from the Brazilian label Essence music, it’s a welcome return for a band whose last studio album came out five years ago.

The Spacious Mind always had this ability to take you on dazzling, cosmic voyages while at the same time keeping you grounded with a deep, organic vibe and The No. 4 Or 5 Gravy Band continues that tradition admirably. The whole album has a dry, dusty, rustling feel to it, as if the songs were found in a chest in the attic of an old house out in the country. Shaken out, they come alive.

The Cinnamon Tree is 13 minutes of earthy psychedelia. With its hypnotic rhythm and dreamy chant-like vocals, it has an almost shamanic feel to it as it swirls in flickering light and shadows. Atmospheres breath as crystalline electric piano notes drift on the wind, a sonic dream journey to mystic lands unknown. You Don’t Know It But You Are follows, with The Spacious Mind at their most experimental, as rumbling and clicking percussion and deep pulsing bass tones collide with swathes of acid drenched soundscapes. And finally, the album closes with a 19-minute epic, that has a title that is just so Spacious Mind. It’s called Creekin’ At The Goose. Echoes of Cosmic Minds at Play and Organic Mind Solution abound as the band takes their experimental side to its extreme, with a barrage of noisy, freeform guitar antics before resolving into a deliberate and steady jam at about the 2-minute mark and we are off on another journey through ancient dream states with occasional guitars howling like distant wolves till the band hits a point where they can no longer maintain the tension, and they explode into a wild, psychedelic freak out that plunges headlong into the void. Potent stuff!

I don’t know if these are newly recorded tracks or old ones that actually were pulled from a chest in someone’s attic, but I do know one thing: this is classic Spacious Mind, and it’s like getting a visit from an old friend that you’ve missed dearly.

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