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Hidria Spacefolk - Astronautica CD (album) cover


Hidria Spacefolk


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.57 | 82 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Finland's answer to OZRIC TENTACLES updated their sound for the band's fourth studio album, recorded almost half a decade after their previous "Symetria". Earlier efforts more or less relayed the same psychotropic torch carried by their Somerset forefathers: vigorous Middle Eastern guitar jams colored with auxiliary flutes and synthesizers. The formula here may have been the same (minus the woodwinds), but the music was more streamlined than before, and at times closer in spirit to mainstream crossover Prog.

The difference between the two kindred bands was always in their relative level of aggression. While the Ozrics appear content to glide among the stars in a solar-powered trance, the Spacefolk prefer to kick serious cosmic butt. The guitars are louder and the rhythms stronger, as heard in the dynamic head-rush of the album opener "Ad Astra". Even more typical is the fast and furious "Cycloops", a juggernaut of concentrated intensity held aloft by soaring anti-gravity guitar sustain: Hidria Spacefolk at their energetic best.

The lavish, almost laughably mind-expanding artwork is a reflection of the band's renewed musical ambition, heavier than ever but also surprisingly lyrical. Note the new, user-friendly melodies in "Badding", the longest track on the album (and also its least focused). There are moments when the arrangement of music is almost too accessible, sounding not unlike a genuine song, without vocals but suggesting a conventional verse/chorus structure.

I have to applaud the band's attempt to climb out of the same rut the Ozrics have been plowing for decades, even if it meant diluting their elemental power of their music with added structure and sophistication (the album is stronger when the template is simpler: fewer chords equal more adrenalin). The Finns have long been named as rightful heirs to the Ozric throne, should Ed Wynne ever decide to abdicate. But it sounds like the Spacefolk have other plans.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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