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Rick Bain and the 
Genius Position
Rick Bain and the Genius Position
Crooked Autumn Sun
Official

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Portland, Oregon's Rick Bain and the Genius Position are quite simply a great American rock band! Taking cues from psychedelic outfits like Pink Floyd, but putting a wholly American twist on the oeuvre, they bear a distant resemblance to The Doors or maybe The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. There's a vastness to Crooked Autumn Sun, a certain pervasive penchant for things big, wide or spacious. Take a song like "Bye Bye Blue Eye". The gentle western twang, the moseying gait, the distant vocals and transcendent rock organ underpinnings all point toward something bigger than life. The instrumentals "Assume the Position" parts I and II are similarly expansive. "Magic Horse" approaches Spiritualized's realm of hypnotic, trance-inducing rock landscapes. The entire album is a beautifully textured and monumental work.

Some songs on Crooked Autumn Sun aren't as epic, but still exude this spirit of freedom. "So Good" is smooth and melodic; Bain's rich baritone is paired in unison with a dreamy, whispery female voice, creating an enchanting sonic mixture. "So Good" has more than a bit of Honky Tonk to it. The shuffling rhythm and rootsy slide guitar could easily be Merle Haggard, but the spacy organ pads and the effusive use of echo effects are just too trippy. "Orlando" is atmospheric -- music for a rainy afternoon, perhaps. The lyrics are powerfully visual: the best line is "And Satan was my backdoor man…" Believe me, in context, it's not as corny as it sounds!

This is an album that starts out strong and then grows on you. I've heard it five times now and I like it better each time I listen to it. I've found it particularly rewarding to dive more deeply into the lyrics. Their nuance and depth do much to enhance the album's expansive atmosphere. It's always great to discover an exceptional new band, but to discover one that you might actually still like in a year's time is priceless!

-- Noah Wane
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