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THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND

Post Rock/Math rock • United Kingdom


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The Physics House Band biography
THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND is an experimental math rock trio from Brighton formed by Adam HUTCHISON, Sam ORGAN and Dave MORGAN in 2011. The group has been very active ever since releasing their debut album in 2013 and then touring and performing with bands like JAGA JAZZIST, MAPS & ATLASES, BOSNIAN RAINBOWS, 65DAYSOFSTATIC and many more.

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THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND discography


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THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 10 ratings
Horizons / Rapture
2013
3.93 | 12 ratings
Mercury Fountain
2017
3.93 | 5 ratings
Incident on 3rd
2021

THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 7 ratings
Metropolis
2020

THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Horizons/Rapture: Remixed
2014

THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.07 | 5 ratings
Death Sequence
2019

THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Incident on 3rd by PHYSICS HOUSE BAND, THE album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.93 | 5 ratings

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Incident on 3rd
The Physics House Band Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck

4 stars Founders Organ and Morgan [Ha! I can't believe I never noticed that before] (and newest addition, Spilsbury) are left to it with the departure of co-founder bassist-keysman Adam Hutchison, returning to a three-piece. Still amazed how little this album has been rated here, but also by the apparently low reception for this band in general. Don't pass this one by! Their third LP. I hope, too, that my past reviews for their other material can be of some help.

"Drifter" starts things off strong! I mean, this is just great Prog! I don't know what it is, but, as we've seen throughout history, there's something so strong about trios. I think it tends to force more out of the individuals. As I've experienced, the natural standout components are saxophonist Miles Spilsbury and drummer Dave Morgan. Phenomenal! Next is our title track, "Incident On 3rd", which called Rush to mind (like "Cynus X-1"?... totally unsure). And like, I would say, contemporaries Tera Melos, they are able to draw you in with a simple riff, as I found myself absolutely hypnotized by this song! Solo showcase for Spilsbury, Organ presents himself jazzy riffmaster and Morgan is absolutely everything you could want in a drummer.

Things calm on down on the soft jam "Melting Through Midtown", another smooth sax soloing track over lovely keys and a solid backbeat. Really tasty, classic stuff. Another lower, slower track, "Sounding of the Dawn" has a very interesting feel. It is mostly static, as "Melting" was, but shifts slightly into a very interesting riff with sax and keys matched. Then we have the much more straight "Drug Store", though also distinctly psychedelic. Sort of gives me a... desert vibe? haha. Soft keys and then sax run below a very clean guitar riff and builds ever so slightly. It culminates into everything loudening and opening up for a sax solo. Eventually far more progressive, classically, than you would ever think from the start, it really grooves. A surprisingly good track. The sort of southern rock guitar here also strangely reminds me of some Jimmy Page. The main riff itself, it turns out, isn't so unlike something we've heard from Zep. Interesting for sure.

In stark juxtaposition to what came before is the soft, even pastoral "Big Six". Guitar and keys roll atop one another and then... Big rhythm shift as the drums come in. Very cool tonal shift, too. Still bright and optimistic. The guitar and the sax now share the spotlight over some really sweet groovin'. Really strong main riff on this'n! Obviously I don't take the title of the next, "Swansong", to heart, as... it's not the final track even on this album haha. This is a soft, solo piano track. Not a shining highlight itself, it does act as a nice reprieve for "La Croix Electrique", as it enters in with what sounds like a new beginning of sorts. Arcing and bending, though Metal guitar angularly meets strange, avant-garde musings from the sax. This strange affair falls away once more to simple piano and a feeling, emotive guitar solo, hanging there low and slow. This itself picks up in the next section, getting louder and much groovier. Not a static song, but ending in a very uniform, single-focused way.

"Club Quarters" is our first more distinctly electronic number, despite the title of the last track. Sweet groove with really nice keys and warm sax. This track picks up the groove as well, revealed to be more of a modern Fusion song. Nice little keys solo, something we don't see a whole lot throughout their discography. Very appealing. Finally we have "Inner City Rumination", another super ready number for your Prog-lovin' ears. Again, super groovy, pretty spacy, and something that is once more just classic, even if it's harder to place (at times, Gong actually came to mind). Excellent show from everyone to close this album out. Strong start, strong end.

 Metropolis by PHYSICS HOUSE BAND, THE album cover Live, 2020
4.00 | 7 ratings

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Metropolis
The Physics House Band Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck

4 stars The sole live album by our Brighton Prog-Math band, I remember when this was released and it was the first time in a while where I was intrigued to check out a live release (since some friends of mine got on Audiotree Live... and, like, for the latest official Holdsworth release). I'm a big believer in the superiority of studio recordings (maybe 95% of the time). What I didn't know when it was released was that this is the first time we hear newer addition to the band, saxophonist Miles Spilsbury (who made their debut on Death Sequence, 2019), on a number of tracks (anything that's not from the Death Sequence EP, so most of it). As the name of this live album implies, this was recorded at Metropolis Studios in London.

As from the start, with "Death Sequence I", this is a natural showcase of the ability of this band. Strong performance, with Spilsbury at the helm. All in full-stride around minute 2. "Calpyso" is a straight-ahead number. Then it's onto "Death Sequence II", I feel it nice to have had these first two parts separated. Low and slow till the backend. The sax and the drums (of course, in my experience) are absolutely the highlight. "Death Sequence III" closes out this showcase of their newest chapter, a spacy, more electronic, synthy, feeling song. It's pretty good.

Onto two of their career highlights from Mercury Fountain (my personal favorite release thus far), an extended (like doubled in length) version of "Holy Caves" into "Surrogate Head". There's something Floyd-esque in this minimal (also apparently extended) intro (like Umma Gumma?). These two tracks together are more of a modern Space jam. I feel like it's weirdly a weaker show of them here... Then an even more notable number but from their earliest effort, "ObeliskMonolith", this one actually shortened when compared to the original, perhaps faster (I'm fairly confident, yes)? This is a glowing track, with blazing speed and with the excellent addition of sax. The rhythm section is, of course, fire. Awesome. The certain album highlight for me.

The remainder of this release is entirely from Mercury Fountain, in fact the final 4 tracks are the final 4 of that album, performed in order. Not too surprising, given its strong song cycle structure. "Obidant" starts things off low, slow and creeping, then in its second half loud and boisterous. Nice, quick guitar solo here at the end. "Impolex" starts off immediately and with immediacy, with brutal, incessant bass, distant saxings and synthy glimmers. Compositionally minimal, but in your face. All falls away on "The Astral Wave", with soft, clean guitar and what sounds like acoustic piano. An immediate build around the midpoint gives way to a feeling guitar solo over a sweet groove. Here it is a gradual build, with underlying synths and growing rhythm section, culminating to beefy guitar riffage and a sax solo. Finally, it's "Mobius Stripp II", the album closer twice now. Very spacy, even minimal, and then booming. A wicked and sudden burst to conclude it all.

True Rate: 3.75/5.00

I think this would be a solid introduction to this band's discography. I think they've had more success in the studio, but still a shining show of their potential.

 Death Sequence by PHYSICS HOUSE BAND, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2019
4.07 | 5 ratings

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Death Sequence
The Physics House Band Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck

4 stars I'm unsure if it's with great purpose, but, not only does it appear their lineup had solidified to include then-new member Miles Spilsbury on sax and (like almost everyone else) synths, but all their roles are greatly simplified. Maybe I'm reading too far into this... Death Sequence indeed is a release that, when dropped, I completely missed. Technically their fourth release, this is their first EP, from 2019. In addition to the inclusion of new member Miles, we also have the first vocal feature by Stewart Lee on track 3. This is apparently (and truly actually) not your average vocal feature. Lee is a British stand-up comedian, of all things! Unless there's a mistake in the attribution of his feature on Spotify, this is the same Stewart Lee responsible for co-writing and co-directing "the West End hit musical Jerry Springer: The Opera." His likely connection here are his columns for music reviews.

Right off the bat, "Death Sequence I" opens up the album huge and strong, with the boisterous explosion we know they can bring but now featuring Mr. Spilsbury prominently on sax. A welcome component, for sure (I'm sure few would disagree). Things fall away to ambience, then to a wicked groove as we approach the middle section. This, too, features some very unique, almost industrial electronic elements. The new, again prominent inclusion of sax gives it a classic Eclectic Prog feel (like, say, KC or Van Der Graaf). At times, the sax screams atop rapid instrumentation. This is, still, Physics House Band at their finest. Again, forever impressed. I would love to see them with Black Midi or something...

"Death Sequence ii" comes right in, continuing another welcomed song cycle I'm now so prepared for after their second album, Mercury Fountain (2017). Far less assuming [It's still huge haha], but still an excellent showcase of their collective talents. I always mention him (or have thus far): drummer Dave Morgan is on fire. To reiterate from earlier reviews, definitely in the vein of Zach Hill, ultimately. Super modern, super exciting.

"Death Sequence iii" begins in stark contrast to the previous two, with soft keys and a hypnotic loop, bolstered by the solid, yet jazzfully loose, drums. This, too, is the track featuring Stewart Lee, providing a monologic echo: "I was the Duke of Solihull. So are you, So am I. I'm the Black Sheep of the Family." Again, a quieted track overall; until the end, a huge and rapid crescendo.

The fourth and final track is... mistitled here as "The Physics House Band"... but elsewhere it's "???" (Bandcamp) and "‽" (Spotify/elsewhere?). This is a short track, at under 2 minutes, and calls specifically mid-70s King Crimson to mind. Very groovy, yet very very dark. Awesome ending... Very sudden ending. Very sudden haha.

Despite my scores being the same thus far, in its tightness, I think it's their strongest, but just by a hair.

 Mercury Fountain by PHYSICS HOUSE BAND, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.93 | 12 ratings

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Mercury Fountain
The Physics House Band Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck

4 stars 4 years passed between their 2013 debut, Horizons / Rapture, and this, their sophomore release ('sophomore' feeling less and less appropriate, given the amount of time gone and their clear, shining ability). The Physics House Band is a post-Math Rock band with Psychedelic and electronic affectations. Here, Raven Bush of Syd Arthur (and Kate Bush's nephew!) is a feature on two tracks! Couldn't not mention that! I recall feeling this album had nearly passed me by when it had first come out. All in good timing.

"Mobius Strip" starts off frankly very classic somehow. The low, fuzzy arpeggio from the guitar gives way to a bright, almost ambient, progressive electronic synth. It is not until the approach to the end that we realize we are indeed in the 21st century. Great intro. All falls away to the sounds of bells and spacy strings to the sudden start of "Calypso", rushed and tense. Our drummer, Dave Morgan, is an immediate highlight here, playing both groovy and quick. The sort of bells-like keys continue over layers and layers of guitar and synth. I trust this track will very much appeal to the average Prog fan, but actually very seriously for fans of both the sort of second-wave of Prog in the late-70s as well as the New Proggers of the '00s.

All is strung so tightly and innately together, as "Calypso" falls away to nothing, but a single mellotronny string, like a warbling, alien cello opens up the lower "Holy Caves". Truly painting a setting before our mind's eye, no? This cello-esque note continues on, not in solitude, but with the light clanging of symbols and the steady rhythm of the bass's main and only riff. Midway through it's unveiled a more clearly psychedelic landscape, with the drums now rolling and the guitar shimmering softly alongside the keys. Super classic... It truly felt like interlude, and it rolls right into the boisterous "Surrogate Head"! Makes you wonder how this all was written, as from track to track they don't miss a beat. The bass and the drums roll alongside one another and the guitar clangs and the keys and organ roars. There's something innately classic in this too, drums aside. The wild, slinky bass very easily could have been performed by the likes of Chris Squire; as I already mentioned, the organ is big and spacious, reminiscent of Progging's Past, for sure.

Another longer-form interlude is the soft, ambient "A Thousand Small Spaces" (fitting title). I can't help it, but Jean Michel Jarre, indeed, comes to mind. The very end sees the track open up to the huge, though wholly surprising dissonance of the next, "Obidant". Aren't I wide-eyed and bushy-tailed? Awesome main riff here, but also some stellar, clearly composed, melodic soloing throughout as well, through the builds and swells and the glimmering of chiptune synths. At just 2 and a half minutes, this is anactive track haha. Highly progressive, highly ambitious. I wasn't looking and here I am in a new track altogether! "Impolex" is just as boisterous, though, if you can make sense of it, laid back, driven by those same glimmering synths, but also by incessant rhythm from the drums and the bass, a wild drone, if there was one. This features flute from an artist that goes by... Biscuit! haha. Very cool. Really brings us all around, doesn't it. Not unlike a Canterbury connection.

Once again, the barrage ceases, but to something far more peaceable than before, "The Astral Wave", with bright acoustic guitar and piano running juxtaposed to the ethereal. Then, at the midpoint, we get a very classic sort of guitar solo over rolling drums and the frisson-inducing synths, building immediately to a sweet groove. We're locked in. And break! SAX SOLO! haha. Very fun track. And naturally, we slide right into "Mobius Strip II". Seriously, what an adventure this album is. Check it.

 Horizons / Rapture by PHYSICS HOUSE BAND, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 10 ratings

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Horizons / Rapture
The Physics House Band Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck

4 stars Hailing from Brighton (in this day and age, I'm unsurprised that I had no idea, not that it matters), this is The Physics House Band's 2013 debut album, released just prior to my broader awareness of this side of modern Prog Rock (bands like Monobody, or, significantly enough later for me, The Most). These bands have a full awareness of the Indie-borne Math Rock idiom that, by 2010, was in full swing as its own popular music genre; but these also have consistently a firmer knack at Progressive compositions and interest, as well as light-to-strong Jazz affectations.

Starting off the whole affair is the forward-driving, glimmering "Obeliskmonolith". As with their album art, this one bearing such a striking image that's difficult to forget, their song titles, too, have a certain kind of air. Listening to it now, perhaps again, it causes me to wonder if this is nearly the title track.

"Abraxical Solapse" is a much more confident, much more progressive number, at times calling to mind bands like The Mars Volta, their influence undeniable at this time, but also groups like Giraffes? Giraffes! or Tera Melos. I would assume, also, that artists like Zach Hill (Death Grips, Hella) had a much larger effect on these guys than I would have known back when I was first hearing this album.

Up next is the spacy, psychedelic glint of "Hollow Mountain", absolutely beautiful in texture and space, it actually weirdly calls to mind early-70s Pink Floyd. An apparent sister song is "Teratology", coming off the wavering, spacious key padding building to a guitar-driven field, with excellent, tasty bass and cool, grooving drums. It builds and builds and the use of various effects really catches the ear. Harsh loops and echoing and reverb once more calls to mind Mars Volta (in the absolute best way possible; not a mimicry). All the while, given this specific comparison, The Physics House Band is and was innately instrumental--thank God it doesn't give way to the pitfalls of Post-Rock boredom. This is the first track that really makes me think of the genre at all, as we find them here exploring various textures and effects over, until the very end, the same sort of theme.

Next, we have potential then almost certain piano balladry on the just-over-a-minute "The Spectral Beyond", a simple, single-sided interlude. It then gives way to our album closer, the lofty, driving "Titan". A second moment throughout the album that actually (once unspoken) reminds me in melodic bass-playing of Geddy Lee. This is a bright track, with a soft, but gleaming arpeggio over their wild rhythm section. A certain showcase, here, of the drummer's ability. This could appeal, in compositional knack, to the Steven Wilson world of modern Prog (post-modern Prog?). Strong ending, but notably quick and sudden, really.

 Metropolis by PHYSICS HOUSE BAND, THE album cover Live, 2020
4.00 | 7 ratings

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Metropolis
The Physics House Band Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Be sure to listen, this is an intriguing entity! Avantgarde, Math, Fusion, Eclectic, Space, all that would be appropriate in some way, when trying to describe their music. Right on the stage the energy is thriving, obviously. In recent times I already had the pleasure to follow some of their live takes offered on youtube. And the recordings taken for this album are the result of nearly such circumstances at the Metropolis Studios, situated in London. That means a more intimate show setting due to a small invited audience. The four musicians are performing already known songs in a slightly modified manner. And, to be also expected of course, they are in very good shape on this occasion. First of all, due to Dave Morgan they are having one hell of a drummer in the ranks, extremely acting to the point, it's a pleasure to follow him.

Okay, trying to be fair, the others, to name guitarist Samuel Organ (yeah, really!), Adam Hutchison (bass) and Miles Spilsbury (saxophone, synths), are not staying in the back here. That should be added. The quartet delivers a set which is quite overwhelming. There's a lot of jamming to state actually. But nevertheless, one can say that's just proper free space, reserved by the well thought out compositions. The Death Sequence suite deserves a special mention, their newest effort, especially the third part, which is simply brillant. Though this is cut open, one can say, by the speedy track Calypso. Not sure about the deeper sense. Anyway, we can file this under artistic freedom definitely. Finally said the couple Holy Caves/Surrogate Head always makes my day when listening. Wow, do not miss that artistic highlight!

 Metropolis by PHYSICS HOUSE BAND, THE album cover Live, 2020
4.00 | 7 ratings

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Metropolis
The Physics House Band Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars The Physics House Band is a math rock band that is obviously flying under the radar of complex, progressive music lovers everywhere. I ran across them by accident and didn't think much about them until I was reviewing new releases a few days ago. The band formed back in 2011, releasing rather short albums here and there that have been labeled as experimental, but that might be a bit misleading except for the fact that they are pushing the boundaries of math rock into some exciting territory. They have also worked and toured with great bands like 'Jaga Jazzist' and '65daysofstatic', other innovators in their genre just like they are.

I usually don't get that excited about live albums, let alone consider them for one of the best of the year, but 'Metropolis' is definitely one that is in the running. The albums the band has released in the past have been short. This live album, recorded before a small invited audience at Metropolis Studios in London, is an exception to this as it runs a hefty 50 minutes (hefty in comparison to their albums that typically don't even reach 30 minutes). This allows the listener to more fully experience their sound, which is surprisingly varied and almost always complex. But the dynamics and mood changes are awesome.

Except for one minor flaw, the track placement is perfect. Most of the first half consists of more involved works that are longer. Tracks 1, 3 and 4 make up the three parts of what is called Death Sequence'. They all come from the EP of the same name. These are dark and somewhat sinister tracks that are quite obviously tied together, and give the listener insight into how dark and complex the band's music can be. Stuck in the middle of these (track 2) is the much happier and infectious 'Calypso' which comes from the album 'Mercury Fountain'. This is an excellent track, however, it is totally out of place stuck in the middle of the dark trilogy. That is the one slight drawback of the album, but, its quite minor. Track 5, on the other hand, is much better placed after the Death Sequence final part, this track being the melding of 'Holy Caves/Surrogate Head', which is a definite, hard and heavy epic track at 12 minutes, and consists of some amazing improvisation that can remind one of some excellent space rock style jamming which often gets overtaken by the sprawling sax solos that almost seem violent.

The rest of the album consists of shorter tracks that mostly come from 'Mercury Fountain' (except for track 7 which comes from the album 'Horizons/Rapture'). The aforementioned track 'Calypso' would have fit better in this part of the album. 'ObeliskMonolith' is a complex and somewhat noise affair at the onset, but it later calms down halfway through, but finishes in the same manner that it begins. 'Obidant' is more atmospheric and ventured into avant territory as it slides mysteriously along, but suddenly explodes into complexity later on. 'Impolex' carries on almost seamlessly from the previous track, synths becoming a bit more evident now, and the somewhat organized structure that is introduced soon gets swirled into the whirlwind that is created. There is another instance of spacey guitar that takes the track into drone territory as the instruments echo into oblivion. A sudden interruption takes the listener into the quiet pensiveness of 'The Astral Wave' which sounds much more acoustic with soft guitar, piano and chimes effects. The track shimmers along, cooling down the wild atmosphere from before. Then the drums bring in a nice but fuzzy part led by the guitar, and intensity quickly builds to a heavy ending. It all ends with a short 'Mobius Strip II' which pretty much summarizes everything.

This album is quite an amazing display of this talented band showing their wide range of style, which is in and of itself, quite surprising for a math rock band. Overall, it can seem to consist of two parts, the darker first half and the more free-wheeling, heavy complexities of the 2nd half. All the way through this album, the bass stands out quite heavily, and that is another thing that keeps this album engaging. The sax is present almost all the way through, but it finds itself meshed in with the other sounds and wildness that is going on. Most listeners will not even notice this album is live as the audience sounds are cut right out, but there is a bit of a 'off-the-cuff' sound to it all so you know that there are no overdubs, but that this tight and talented band can produce this music on the spot. The band obviously thrives in a live environment, and this album is more of a sizeable helping of their style, and you definitely feel satisfied by the end of the album. Those that love math rock or any kind of progressive music that pushes the boundaries of that genre will love this album and it will probably appeal to lovers of fusion. Also, any lover of heavy bass will want to listen to this album. Excellent, quirky, tight and engaging, this 50 minutes will still be over before you know it. 4 1/2 stars (rounded down to 4).

 Mercury Fountain by PHYSICS HOUSE BAND, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.93 | 12 ratings

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Mercury Fountain
The Physics House Band Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Tapfret
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars One of my favorite discoveries from the first half of 2017 is a trio from Channel Coast country in the UK, The Physics House Band. Having been floated to their Bandcamp page by links to recommendations of suggestions in a chain that went well beyond 6 degrees of separation, I took one look at the name and thought for sure I had landed on some thumpy techno/rave act that would send me running for the hills. Instead I was treated to their amazing preceding EP Horizons/Rapture. This year's offering is more of the same with a huge dose of maturation.

Mercury Fountain is largely advertised as a post/math experimental album. As a core idea it seems to fit with the sub-genre's conventions, an instrumental trio consisting of multi-instrumentalists. But the "experimental" tag is troublesome. Not because there is any lacking sense of adventure, quite the contrary. More because of the implication of the word experimental as mutually exclusive to deliberate intent. The Physics House Band are nowhere near floundering in their mission. So emphatic is their intent that when I originally looked at the total album time, 29 paltry minutes, I thought their was no way this was going to be enough, being only 2 minutes into the already enjoyable experience. But this is a musical experience that seems to distort time. A bizarre ride through what feels conventional at any given moment. One of those rare albums that takes the listeners through a series of changes with no recognizable unifying theme, that manages to present itself as a single cohesive piece.

Instrument wise the core is a heavy hitting odd-time bass (frequently distorted) and drum groove with frequent breaks of eclectic keyboard use. Everything from overdriven Rhodes sounds to ARP sounding sequences, Moog portamentos, and what is either an old Mellotron with stretched out tapes or a really good sample of one, the keys create a fantastic layer of textures. Guitars tend to be loud but overdriven rather than fully distorted. Lots of reverb on the solos which tend to not have a need for speed. Unlike the previous release the band employs guest musicians for added violin, flute and sax for the closing sections of the album. The package is complete, simultaneously hard and ethereally psychedelic. Tight but raw and energetic.

The Physics House Band engage in a genre that can easily become stale. They are in no danger of that with Mercury Fountain. Easily one of my favorite albums of the year and one I anticipate listening to for a long time. Quickly an essential part of my collection and highly recommended 4.5 stars.

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition.

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