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Naam - The Ballad Of The Starchild CD (album) cover

THE BALLAD OF THE STARCHILD

Naam

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.09 | 3 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Issued under the sub-heading 'Movements I - V', this twenty-six minute long EP from the New York-based psych-droners Naam - only their second overall set - looks like it might just be the first in a series of such releases. However, what's really interesting is the fact that 'The Ballad Of The Starchild' actually proves superior to the group's lengthy 2009 self-titled debut, a full-length studio album that introduced Naam as the latest additions to the ever-growing canon of 21st century North American psych-rock groups, lining up alongside such luminaries as Wooden Shjips, The Black Angels, Black Mountain, White Hills and Om. Featuring a dark, heavy and occasionally doomy sound that falls somewhere between the white-squalled squeals of fellow New Yorkers White Hills and the bustling stoned heaviness of Om, Naam seem heavily influenced by both the proto-metal sounds of the 1970's and Nirvana-style grunginess, only with a heavy dose of wigged-out psychedelia thrown into the mix for good measure. Disappointingly though, 'Naam' the 2009 album proved a rather graceless affair, both overly-heavy and melodically underwhelming; thankfully the same cannot be said of 'The Ballad Of The Starchild'. Here, the gloomy atmospherics have been replaced by a more refined sonic approach, with glistening keyboards underlaying the grizzly guitars, carefully-crafted and slowly- unfurling melodic segments replacing the incessant riffing of yore and a far more ambient atmosphere giving this brief-but-excellent EP a rather mysterious overall feel. The key piece here - and the EP's centrepiece - is the ten-minute epic 'The Starchild', though the four shorter tracks that surround it all add nicely to the hazy atmosphere. Hopefully the next Naam album will expand on the style explored here rather than focusing on the glutinously overcooked sludge-rock found on their self-titled debut; we await their next move keenly. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 3/5 |

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