Dead Sea Apes- Sixth Side of the Pentagon-(Cardinal Fuzz/Sky Lantern Records)

Dead Sea Apes are no stranger to these pages and their albums are never far away from the turntable and even had the dubious honour of being my ‘Album of the Year 2015‘. Their continuous exploratory approach to their sound is something to be applauded, but it’s the high standard of their output continues to earn them a loyal following. This album picks up on the themes of Spectral Domain’s epic album closer ‘Sixth Side Of The Pentagon’ and expands on them.

We start the album with the twisted psych dub of ‘ The Map Is Not The Territory’ which sets out the stall for the album both musically and thematically. The title of the song is a  Alfred Korzybski quote, and i wonder if this is a shot at paranoia over boarders, identities and nationalism both here and in America and indeed the world? Musically it’s  dripping in sheer class, the bass lines are smooth and free flowing, the drums jab,snap and crack and the guitars just chime and weave their way around the track. A short interlude (Sixth Side version 1) serves as breather before the rumbling bass of ‘Low Resolution’ takes hold and starts the building process. All the classic DSA elements are here but, this slow burner has an increased intensity probably because it’s be boiled down and reduced to less than four minutes. I would have been just as happy if it was twenty minutes long, but this is ratcheted up to increase the tension. Another nineteen second blast of ‘Sixth Side’ gives way to the liquid grooves of ‘Pale Anxities’ features the first of two appearances from poet Adam Stone adding yet more depth and texture to their sound. As ‘Nerve Centre’ takes hold it feels like the best parts of  everything the band has done before, it feels both rich and yet stark. Another rumble of ‘Sixth Side’ acts as almost an introduction to the psych dub of ‘Lo Res’ which seems to be part of the same family tree as the earlier track ‘Low Resolution’. The album reaches it’s zenith with ‘Tentacles (The Machine Rolls On)’  featuring Adam Stones dystopian world view. The band create the perfect sonic back drop for Stone’s reflections of a system that is clearly collapsing before our very eyes and all alternatives seemed to be mocked and laughed at before they have a chance to form. This frighteningly stark observational poem has been given the perfect soundtrack. The last ‘Sixth Side’ vignette makes way for the album closer ‘Rectifier’ and with a title like that, it had me wondering what the hidden meaning was, all I know is that once again this spiky take on dub closes the album in style.

This album is huge, there is so much going on but there is space for everything shine and bind,and there is no clutter. We live in strange times, there is barley a day goes by where I don’t shake my head at the almost suffocating volume of injustice, media feeding frenzies and so much shouting and very little listening that it’s almost impossible to make sense of anything. Well this album makes sense because it seems to be holding up a mirror and asking everyone to stop, look and listen.

Buy it here or here if you live on the other side of the Atlantic

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