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Seven Percent Solution - All About Satellites And Spaceships CD (album) cover

ALL ABOUT SATELLITES AND SPACESHIPS

Seven Percent Solution

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.98 | 3 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The Austin quartet of Seven Percent Solution (aka 7% Solution, on this release) came and went too quickly in the mid- to late-1990s. And not enough people outside the band's south-central Texas hometown even knew they existed. But they burned with an almost supernatural radiance while active, and in their debut album produced a near-masterpiece of ethereal rock: the prairie rose alternative to early PORCUPINE TREE, but making Steve Wilson's band resemble a stunted creosote bush in comparison.

The album's techno-kitsch title was better suited to an '80s synth-pop effort, instead of the almost symphonic brand of psychedelia played here, amazingly created without the benefit of keyboards (those monumental sheets of sound were made entirely by guitars). The group itself was named after Nicholas Meyer's 1974 Sherlock Holmes novel, in which the Baker Street detective hires Sigmund Freud to help cure his cocaine habit...a fitting choice for such addictive music: the aural equivalent of a lucid dream, recalled in perfect clarity.

Even at its heaviest, the album is typically weightless but always well-grounded, never yielding to the aimless jamming of other space rockers. The key to the subtle power of the band, best heard in songs like 'Revolve' and the loping waltz of 'The Road and the Common' (among many others) was a combination of seductive grooves, soaring orchestral guitars, and spellbound singing. In one instance ('Built on Sand') they even cribbed lyrics from R.E.M., transforming the indie-pop verses of 'What If We Give It Away?' into lines of spectral poetry never imagined in Athens Georgia, adding a contemporary influence alongside the more obvious nods to CAN, early PINK FLOYD, and the more psychedelic digressions of THE BEATLES.

The Seven Percent style has elsewhere been likened to Shoegazer Rock, yet another totally artificial label, and in this case almost comically shortsighted. Never mind the shoes: the focal point of their collective gaze was always somewhere toward the infinite, and the musical bridge to that far horizon stands up better than my own plum-colored attempts to describe it.

[ Rueful postscript: It's a pity the band's marketing skills didn't match their musical aspirations. Early pressings of the album included a duplicate CD in a separate sleeve, with instructions to 'please give this copy to a friend', a clever idea that obviously failed to raise their profile. A late review after eighteen years is a poor substitute for the gift of free music, but it's the best I can offer here. ]

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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