Vibracathedral Orchestra – Motorcycle Rec Blast

4 out of 5

Label: VHF

Produced by: Bill Kellum (compiled by)

Trudging guitar and buried solos, squirrely feedback, clattering percussion, whistles and keys and vaguenesses floating through the background… There’s nothing like psych/rock/folksters Vibracathedral Orchestra when they’re firing on all cylinders, and this particular lineup, featuring many notables from the group’s rotating crew, is absolutely on board for that effect.

Motorcycle Rec Blast itself has a “rotating” vibe, with the sequencing finding the team cycling through various modes, blended into by interstitial tracks. This does end up leading the group down a path with a dead-end – the 8-minute Otto drops into drone, just when things had started heating up into rock-out mode – but VO navigates their way out at the tail end, the track’s fuzzy drum beat digressing into a pretty mess of bells and keys, and then the playfully bouncy South follows it up. We conclude with the haunting, echoed screams of the short Twin leading into the blissful, musical 70s psych pop of Precinct.

That’s an effective way to wrap back around to the beginning: opener Suave is its noisy, feedback-drenched cousin, equally as confident but effected much differently. It’s something of an introduction to this version of VO, not outright bluster but playing with the patience of a team trusting in the process. Indeed, the following two interstitial tracks slink into the slow, folky Sleep, and then Newt and Gupton open things up with noisier rock elements.

It’s a roundtable of ideas, only temporarily hitting a snag at an odd point, but also meaning the cumulative effect – across multiple relistens, which will happen for any VO fan – is incredibly memorable, as it provides a pretty full picture of what the group offers, and has the potential to do.