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Hard Coming Love – Hard Coming Love

Spezialmaterial

From the opening drone and chiming guitar trills of “Lovelight,” it’s evident that Zurich’s Hard Coming Love are big, big fans of West Coast psych, Spacemen 3, and among others, of course, The United States of America, the second track of whose similarly self-titled album  provided the band’s (slightly embarrassing) name. Where the former had drums and bass to pin down Jason Spaceman and Sonic Boom‘s interlocking internecine guitar strumming, HCL have no fewer than four guitars and/or basses making up their own wall of sound, plus keys – so maybe a little bit more on the Spiritualized size of band, maybe.

The album sifts and stumbles gently through back-masked passages, wanders down floating avenues of feedback, fuzzes into gasping strata of refulgent rock’n’roll coasting – in short, everything a good psychedelic band should do while doubtless gazing very firmly at their footwear. Chords chug and back-pedal with the ebb and flow of a mellow lysergic experience, pulsating like the colours don’t usually do unless the synaesthetic overdrive has really kicked in; but if there’s one occasional flaw, it’s in the vocals. It’s sometimes questionable if there’s really any need for them at all, because when the music is instrumental it rocks and ripples along just fine – but, earnest harmonising aside, the template set out by the aforementioned Spacemen 3 and a whole host of lyricists drugged up to their inconstant eyeballs never really established itself as one with much in the way of depth or lasting profundity.

When restricted to “Right on!” echoed to the far side of the skies and back, there’s no problem – it’s all within the tradition of blissed-out wonder of dopefiends with blue jeans and six strings everywhere… but sometimes the rambling really becomes like standing next to a speed freak (or maybe worse, Lou Reed) in thrall to their own discursive discourse, it distracts from the otherwise well-constructed business of getting some serious rocks off to all those guitars. Still, that said, “Just fuck yourself and go away”is always going to be a pretty effective lyric, and it will probably be the only street-credible response to this (minor) criticism.

Which said, “We Already Said So Long” stands out as a particularly driving number, the drums building a rolling thunder as the repeated refrain “Everybody searching” rises above the thickening guitars before a suitably frazzled drop out into a curled-up synth trail; and the organ sounds which introduce closer “Psycho”soon take on a reverberative life of their own, shimmering into the heartstars at the beats bash out a jagged rhythm; and guess what? Those lyrics are actually fitting in all right, now that the groove’s turning in synch with the far-out cosmic vibrations rushing in on the solar wind like a board packing some heavy space-age surf, yeah?…. hmmm, time for another toke and a fresh bottle of cough syrup, yeah, everything’s fine, man, everything’s juuuuust fine…

-Linus Tossio-

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