Review: Chromesthetic – S/T

a1364787843_16The amplifier doesn’t simply “make it louder”. It congeals, crushes, intensifies. Unassuming chord strums go in; great waves of fuzz pour out, distorting against the limits of volume and perhaps against the limits of something else; pressing into the membrane between everyday living and the psychedelic beyond, using the added serration of wah pedals to slice holes in the corporeal veil. I’m not necessarily talking about towering amplifier stacks used to set large venues ablaze. Chromesthetic sounds like product of a much more modest operation: a player staring down the grill of their practice amp, engaged in a feedback loop of listening and channelling, channelling and listening, soaking up the fuzz that gushes forth and feeding it directly back into the valves. Faint drum machines do just about enough to keep everything in parallel, erect in anxious stillness like harbour stilts smashed by tides of overdrive, asymmetric tremolo, reverse guitar leads, shrill feedback and hums of power chord drones. At times, the various layers of overdubbed guitar clot into a hiss in the higher frequencies; perhaps the sound of air escaping from a slit in the here-there divide?

There is ample homage to the motorik. Tonally, the record maintains a dogged commitment to hurtling “straight ahead” – the riffs loop themselves into a cruise-control plateaux like Cadillac headlamps fixed on the horizon line, cycling around until the listener sheds all expectation of musical progression and sinks into the time-blanketing expanse of stasis instead. Similarly, each track promptly ascends to a volume peak and then stays there, pressed against the ceiling until the ecstasy of climax becomes a constant nausea. I fall dizzy amidst the riffs, head bashed back and forth between the two-chord refrain of “Suicide” or drenched in the rain of lead guitar on “Treatment”, numb to feeling and clueless on how to correctly orientate myself. In other words, bliss.