Maybe I have been hanging around with a rather dubious musical companion during this strange pandemic, but somehow it’s starting to feel as though auguries of new Finnish psychedelic rock have been sprouting more frequently of late. It certainly isn’t a bad choice of music for the end of days. One of my most recent findings is the cosmic space-rock band from Tampere, POLYMOON. Their debut album, “Caterpillars of Creation,” slipped past my musical radar upon its release on September 4th, 2020, via Svart Records. Now, two tracks into the album, I’m more than happy to ascend to the next level of being by exposing my delicate ears to this fine blend of progressive psychedelia. The allure of an otherworldly atmosphere, or “neitherworldly” in this particular case, stems from the intangible. It is a trait in music that seems to exist outside of time, on a different plane of reality. When you want to harness it, there aren’t really that many bands you could trust to get the job done properly. POLYMOON is one of those bands.
The journey begins with the opening track, “Silver mt,” and I’m pretty sure that it refers to that mythical place of the vintage RAINBOW hit, rather than a ski resort in Idaho, USA. For the first 3 minutes, the song is free-floating in zero gravity, sounding spacious, spiritual, and esoteric. The keyboards resonate with the air of 1960s psychedelia while the delayed guitars are doodling around freely. The last 3 minutes are comprised of relentless strumming and vintage organs projecting spaced-out legatos to the night sky. I used to watch the 1960s series, Lost In Space, on cable TV as a kid and this song would have fit the soundtrack like a glove. The TV series was about a pioneering family of space colonists who tried to find ways to survive in the unforgiving depths of outer space. I feel tempted to use that as an analogy here; POLYMOON is one of the most prominent bands that seek to colonize the farthest reaches of the Innerspace with the power of music. Who really needs drugs when you have music like this?
Okay, this Tampere bunch is not by far the first band to fall in love with a delay pedal. That’s what psych-rock is all about, right? It probably isn’t just a coincidence that there is a super-modulated, mathematical dream-state boutique delay pedal on the market, named “Polymoon.” However, the universal laws of nature apply here: it’s not about the size of the delay, it’s how you use it. These psychonauts put it into such good use on “Caterpillars of Creation” that I kind of wish to see the band passing into myth rather sooner than later. This sonic offering is a feast of psychedelic merriments of all kinds, a cornucopia of exotic sonic spices. It is a genuine bullhorn of plenty, which avoids the pitfalls of psych-rock mannerism in the most delightful ways. On occasion, the guitar melodies resonate with a slight LAIKA & THE COSMONAUTS vibe and the next thing you know, the vocals kick in with a strong VON HERTZEN BROTHERS feel like on the track, “Lãzaward.” The pinnacle track on the album, “Neitherworld,” balances between a trance-inducing kraut-rock frenzy and an almost KINGSTON WALL-like freeform jamming madness.
POLYMOON goes far beyond the limitations of the psychedelic rock genre, or any genre for that matter. I suppose drowning space-rock jams in delay and reverb, like the cheap advocates of easy psych-rock virtues so often do, is not exactly considered edgy or innovative in 2020. Here is a band that can pull it off with style, however. The last minute or so in the closing track, “Metempsychosis,” is basically an onslaught of post-black metal. It blends in quite beautifully, bringing the album to a close with a vehemence that leaves no room for doubt: all this shoegaze-tinted astral jamming in the purple-hazed, paisley-patterned Innerspace is truly the music of the spheres, that musica Universalis of the ancient philosophers and the like – the orbital resonance of pure being.
Written by Jani Lehtinen
- Silver mt
Tuomas Heikura – drums
Jesse Jaksola – guitar
Otto Kontio – guitar
Kalle-Erik Kosonen – vocals, synthesizer
Juuso Valli – bass