Chicago’s The Luck of Eden Hall (Greg Curvey, Mark Lofgren, Carlos Mendoza, Jim Licka) have decided that everyone needs to groove out more in these crazy, hectic times, so why not double your groove dose with a double album – The Acceleration of Time?
The album starts with bell chimes that become something like a warning klaxon until we’re dropped into “Slow” – a solid rocker with prog-rock guitar and vocals that remind me of King Missile if King Missile decided to rock out more. “Blown to Kingdom Come” ups the reverbed vocals a bit and has more killer drum fills than I can count. It also has a damn catchy melody that gets your toes tapping.
“A Procession of Marshmallow Soldiers Across the Clockwork Pudding,” an instrumental, is the best title to a psych-rock song I’ve heard all year. I love bands that include instrumental cuts, and this one has soaring guitar work from Curvey.
The title track appropriately starts with a ticking clock that becomes weird piano you might hear in a haunted saloon. It has heavy George Harrison and Tom Petty influences that work well. The whole song crackles and is a fine showcase for the band.
“Channel 50 Creature Feature” is a favorite, as I grew up a “monster kid” watching such programs. It doesn’t have a lot of creepy organ or Theremin like you might expect. It has the sound and feel of an epic Frank Zappa jazz track. Imagine something you’d hear at a late night chill-out party in Klaus Kinski’s house and you’ll get the idea.
The guitars on “Arthropoda Lepidoptera” soar like the butterflies in its namesake. “The Family Timekeeper” continues the theme of time and the perception of it. The drums tap out a clock-hand beat and the guitars have this weird jangly sound that slips into a nice alt-rock riff between verses. “You Asked About Water on Mars” is appropriately spacey (the synths) and cosmic (the guitars).
“Only Robots Can Search the Deep Ocean Floor” follows it. “We’re empty vessels. In the end, it’s all for naught. Some find love, some find luck, some lose touch,” Curvey sings. If only robots can search things we can’t reach, we can at least search deep into ourselves if we brave the journey.
“Another High Speed Blowout” starts off sounding like a New Pornographers track with its groovy beats and growing synths, until it goes from a rolling boil to a simmer and lulls you into a warm trance. “The Happiness Vending Machine” is great power pop and about the benefits and (mostly) hazards of money. Hard-hitting bass combines with slightly fuzzy guitars and rock drumming. It’s an instant hit.
The twelfth track is appropriately named, “Twelve.” The song takes us from noon to midnight as a couple deals with what appears to be a relationship that is turning into a boring routine. Can they break the monotony and save each other, and will they have the same battle the next day?
“White Caps in the Wind” is over eight minutes of lush dream pop. Flute (or flute-like synths, I’m not sure which) floats along as more clockwork guitar guides you like the wind mentioned in the title. “The Saints Are Quiet Above Us” is something you hear in a dream while sleeping in a desert lodge with the window open and sandalwood-scented air blows over you. The closer, “A Man of Conservative Style,” has crazy Beefheart saxophone, strangely syncopated vocals, and more good guitar work from Curvey, who has convinced me he’s one of the best unheralded guitarists out there right now.
This is one of the best psychedelic rock records I’ve heard all year. It succeeds on all fronts: psych, power pop, dream pop, prog-rock, and alt-rock. The Acceleration of Time is so good that it seems to go by too fast for a double album, which is only fitting for its title. The album alters your perception of time and the world around you while you listen to it.
Keep your mind open.
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