Review by Paul Broome
Writing a review of the new Mainliner album, or pretty much of anything that has come from the mind and fingertips of Kawabata Makoto, is something only a fool would attempt. You can’t really capture a state of being in words. You can describe it, but to do so you have to first analyse it, and just by subjecting it to scrutiny you are altering its consistency, reducing it to easily digestible chunks.
Kawabata Makoto is, of course, also the driving force behind the mighty Acid Mothers Temple – the Krautrock-influenced psychedelic rock band who came careering out of Japan in the mid-90s looking for all the world like they’d just fallen in a wormhole in the Cologne of 1970 a day earlier. Some words which you could use to describe his musical output would be: experimental, improvisational, ambient and mind-altering. His music is an unhinged space rock journey across the cosmos, with no boarding point, no destination and no estimated time of arrival. Basically it’s a proper magical mystery tour.
And Mainliner share this principle, only they are in more of a hurry to get to nowhere. There’s urgency in the repeated riff mantras, aggression and spike in the improvised guitar curlicues, atrial fibrillation in the rhythms – but the result is total meditational noise. The bus may be travelling at 200mph, but it’s still going in circles, spirals, looping the loop and looking in on itself. Only the two minute track ‘D.D.D’ breaks the cycle – being a “balls to the wall” garage rock acid outburst. But every good trip needs just a moment of frantic panic.
The opening foundation riff on the closing 20 minute ‘New Sun’ is worth the price of admission alone. It is a rhythmic riff wrangled and wrought from a freeform distorted wail – no notes as such, just a perfect balloon animal of sonic extremes.
It goes without saying that this won’t be to everyone’s taste. But check your critical mind at the door, leave the analysis to people with more time on their hands, and just sink into it and this is one mighty cosmic slab of mind-expanding joy.
Oh, and heads-up – they’re playing The Flapper on the 26th of September.
7.5 out of 10
- Revelation Space
- The Dispossessed *
- New Sun
*CD & Cassette Only