Thursday, December 8, 2011

The great destroyer - White Orange deals in awesomely intimidating guitars and 13-minute opuses

The great destroyer

White Orange deals in awesomely intimidating guitars and 13-minute opuses

WHITE ORANGE: Definitely trying to melt your brain. Photo credit: Jon T. Cruz /
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Over the years album art has grown to crazy new heights. Conveying information about the band, or a sense of what the band might sound like, has more or less faded to the background in exchange (legitimately, in my opinion) for expressing something less clear about the band's spirit. It's also an opportunity to release two more or less unrelated pieces of art. Great album covers have a certain iconic weight to them that becomes inseparably linked to the music within.
White Orange has great album art, which also happens to succinctly convey the band's spirit at first glance.
Adorning White Orange's eponymous LP (for example) is a delirious explosion of images: majestic sea horses, a serene holy man emitting brain waves, little tucked away peace signs, great swaths of vivid yellow, red and blue - this album wants to melt your brain. In the tradition of bands like Deep Purple, Mastadon, Kyuss, King Crimson and others, this is heavy psychedelic music designed to worm its way into your brain - largely without mellow mind blends, but with plodding riffage that will have you peaking when utilized in tandem with a light show.
This is psych rock for people who get laid.
"I've been into psychedelic and heavy music for a long time," says lead singer Dustin Hill. "I studied it, and was very much into early '60s underground psychedelic high school bands, and was also very influenced by - for lack of a better word, the whole doom/stoner movement, which starts in the '60s with Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath. It's not a new thing. So, with the early movement of this heavier music, plus the early movement of (psychedelia), and especially as it progressed into the desert of America with Kyuss - I mean, all of that is a heavy influence for me."
True to the band's llineage, White Orange has favored vinyl in its releases, even going so far as to make the first EP single a picture disc, covered with graphic artwork by notorious occultist Aleister Crowley. While your eyes pan the insane artwork printed on the surface of the record, you are treated to a 13-minute destroyer called "... and this is why I speak to you in parables." Mark my words when I say White Orange does not fuck around.
In the midst of all this grandiose plundering of the mind via awesomely intimidating guitars and 13-minute opuses, it's a shaky line that's being drawn between loving, successful homage and gross navel-gazing. To present, as your first submission into the greater consciousness of music a cascading river of a song is something that would've gladly been permitted in the heady days of the '70s, but now might be considered trite or presumptuous. That White Orange comes out on the other side unscathed is less a miracle, and more a tribute to the band's deft songwriting and command over a genre to which it holds so dear.

White Orange

with Argonaut and guests
Saturday, Dec. 10, 9 p.m., cover TBA
The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma

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