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Vibravoid - Stepping Stone CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.90 | 2 ratings

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4 stars German band VIBRAVOID celebrate their 25th anniversary this year I understand, at least they have a banner on their Facebook page proclaiming that these days, and while they didn't make their debut as recording artists until 2001 they have been a popular entity in the psychedelic rock scene ever since that year. They have been regular contributors to UK niche label Fruits de Mer Records for a number of years now, as providers of newly recorded versions of classic psychedelic rock tracks released as a part of specific projects as well as ordinary releases issued without a defining context of one sort or the other. The single "Stepping Stone" belongs to the latter category, and was released in the fall of 2015.

On this 7 inch vinyl Vibravoid has a go at three classics from way back when, giving each of them the Vibravoid treatment: Creating material that has a contemporary nature to it in arrangements, performance and production, crafted by using distinct and dominating layers of psychedelic instrument details of various kinds.

The Monkees Stepping Stone is thus transformed into a fuzz and echoing guitar driven enterprise, with a gentler fuzz guitar and organ driven employed for the verse sequences and a noisier, edgy arrangement for the interludes, and with a gentler echoing guitar detail and voice effect combination for the solo section midways. Traffic's Hole In My Shoe is given a more diverse treatment, with raga-tinged plucked strings and flute details alternating with gentler plucked guitars and organ interludes, with some cosmic sounding effects thrown in here and there and atmospheric laden lead vocals alternating with a darker, effects treated lead vocal presence. Both of these are well made and strong performances, and as usual they come across as sounding very much like Vibravoid and not quite as much as material originally written and performed by another band.

The B side of this single features Vibravoid's take on HP Lovecraft's The White Ship, a slower paced affair where the song comes across as a slow journey over psych-filled landscapes, with fuzzy and echoing guitar details, some raga-tinged plucked string details and more or less subtle cosmic effects arranged as the sea for this ship to sail upon, with a chaotic crescendo midways as a possibly allegorical storm. Extremely well made, but at least for my ears and my brain this one becomes just a bit too overpowering, a constant array of sounds and effects in a psychedelic wild sea that is just a bit too rough for my tastes, although I suspect those with a taste for the more edgy and challenging aspects of psychedelic rock should find this one a most welcome excursion indeed.

At the end of the day I do regard this single is a strong one though, but it's qualities depends very much on how much you enjoy Vibravoid's take on psychedelic rock. Their contemporary take on the style is somewhat overpowering, with a loud and in your face attitude that is a bit removed from the warmer, organic and often more delicate touch generally applied by the artists of yesteryear. If you don't enjoy the band or their general approach chances are that this single won't convince you otherwise, but if you do you'll most likely find this single to be an enticing one.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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