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Pseudo/Sentai - Nature's Imagination (Chapter 2) CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.15 | 14 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Pseudo Sentai are a conglomeration of experimental effects, indie alternative and art rock that have somehow achieved the 'difficult to pin down' genre. No amount of labelling will describe their music though they fall into the crossover box more easily than other genres. Listening to the EP "Nature's Imagination (Chapter 2)" is an intriguing experience because the songs all stand apart from one another. None of them outstay their welcome, but this is really a short listening journey for newcomers to the band, albeit a pleasant refreshing musical taste.

The EP opens with 'Landmark of Vascular Catastrophe' launched by ambient violin synths. Then the tranquillity is offset by the dissonance of offbeat and rather abrasive multilayered vocals, that are off key and battle against the beauty of the ribbons of synth. Suddenly I realise I need to prepare for a sonic journey as the experimental off kilter style is a trait of Pseudo Sentai. The band are earning a reputation for being out of the box in musical terms, and they jump completely out, defying description on this EP. Every song is distinct and unlike the other, which is refreshing when so many bands tend to emulate their own style song after song.

A case in point is that the next track 'Photoperioism' stands alone opening with bubbling burbles and then an indie folk rhythm locks into place. The harmonies are astonishing, so well executed that I had to check out the singers, only to be greeted with a cryptic listing of The Sentai play all Instruments. A bit of digging around will unveil that the band are a duo, often referred to as Blue and Red, that embark on these projects or recordings using home recording tools. The Residents music springs to mind at times listening to these short experimental ditties, and of course the anonymity adds to the mystique, though I don't believe Pseudo Sentai don eyeball masks to maintain this.

Having stated all this, the band are curiously accessible especially on songs such as 'Oil Hurricane; which could be mistaken as the latest soundtrack of the new Mario or 8 bit retro game of the like. The video game sound is endearing and is joined by more aggressive vocals with odd lyrics; "The fair haired children decorate the tether ground, the soundtrack to their end is their very own lack of sound, we all knew but we hoped this day would never come, the day the oil hurricane would stain the sun." I like the ominous quality of such lyrics adding to the drama accentuated by sparse musicianship.

'Foliage Flower' is stripped back to staccato piano notes and auto tuned vocals, again layered as harmoniously as is effective. The eerie effects create a dark atmosphere and, as an oddity, this short slice of inventiveness makes its marks and exits in a mere 1:50. The lyrics intrigue me and are as indecipherable as the music; "Mysterious threading binding pine growth, into a dimunitive gift as careless as its maker, I can never reach high enough when altitude escapes me, spare me your artefact of fiction." Poetic to say the least, and the lyrics enhance the musical figures.

The last track is my favourite and is really a fish out of water as it sounds more like a new wave band, one that is interested in melodies, nice vocals and exceptional musicianship, that were really aspects missing from the previous tracks. This one has a retro 80s sound like a track from Depeche Mode in the early years, oddly enough, but is all the more enjoyable in its uniqueness among the oddities previous. The guitar work is superb joined by beautiful swathes of synths with an organic flow. Lyrically the words capture a timelessness that can be open to interpretation, at one point sounding like the hypothesis of a science experiment; "Glistening specks of diamond light look like dirt residue, when placed next to your smile and all that is you, leaves have turned orange in the fall air, and with wind they rain, carriages roll breaking for the light, and they fly back up."

The consistency of this last song and indeed the whole EP are the interjections of strange effects, spacey in places but overall generating an ethereal atmosphere. In conclusion, Pseudo Sentai are a band that inject passion and energy into their music, and refuse to adhere to one genre, opting instead to merge as many genres as suits their purpose. Whether it be 8 bit video games, indie folk, or experimental alt rock, the music is constantly developing in their darkroom where the initial snap shots are taken. As the songs take shape the music takes on its own life force, and the band simply go along for the ride, therefore the songs become their own entity. It's great that bands are still finding their own uniqueness in a world where so many artists are being manufactured by the industry. We need bands like Pseudo Sentai to keep the rest of the plastic self-manufactured artists honest.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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