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
" 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!