I genuinely have no idea why I bought Holy Mountain Ancient Astronauts, I’m guessing it must have been recommended to me somewhere, somehow and let’s face it I’m not the hardest person in the world to sell stoner space rock to.
The process was definitely made easier by the fact Holy Mountain are on the Chemikal Underground label, just like Mogwai used to be, the fact that one of the Mountains was wielding a Gibson SG in a dramatic bare-chested fashion on the inner sleeve probably contributed, as did the fact that I have always wanted to own an LP with a track on it called ‘LV-42666’ by a Glaswegian band; dream = lived.
The aforementioned ‘LV-42666’ kicks proceedings off in fine style, it’s a driving propulsive riff that seems to get where its going by willpower and force alone. We may be going into space but we’re having to work our passage, is the vibe. This is sustained throughout Ancient Astronauts, there isn’t much fancy virtuosoing going on this here trip – riffs are fuzz heavy and fuzzing heavily all the way into orbit.
Except they never really quite get there for me. I rated this album highly enough for it to take the highly-coveted #11 slot in my Top 11 LPs of 2014 but I’m a touch more ambivalent about it now. All those years ago I wrote,
Frighteningly hairy heavy space rock from Glasgow, played as though the very devil himself was after the mortal souls; ’nuff said. My bad mood LP of the year – always made me rage a bit, before getting cheery again.
I don’t take that from it now*. With the exception of a couple of tracks, including the opener and the suitably giddy ‘Star Kings’, there just isn’t enough variation and chops on show to keep me entertained. I have no doubt at all that Holy Mountain could really pummel you into submission live, or indeed that the band could thrash the living saviour right out of lily-livered keyboard warriors like myself in a back alley, but they just don’t show enough here on Ancient Astronauts and it disappointed me.
Plus the lettering on the front cover is a bit pants, resembling hanging tendrils of Aztec snot: Absinthe Antelopes? Antiseptic Australians? Absolute Anteaters?
So I am sorry, but I’ll pass on this one; too much perspiration, not enough inspiration, or stonerspacestation.
PS: The usual 1537 caveat applies here that Ancient Astronauts is a far better LP than I will ever manage to make, these guys went out there and did it and I just sit here in my grimy underpants typing away about nothing. They win.
*which is probably exactly why I’m better off reviewing LPs I’ve owned for 30 years than new releases.