Blast Off Through the Wicker is the full-length debut of Art Feynman, a presumably low-key California musician and self-proclaimed animist who made a habit of obscuring his face in promotional material for the album. Spoiler alert: it turns out that Feynman is the alter ego of indie singer/songwriter Luke Temple, who began uploading tracks under the name around the time he relocated from the East Coast to Northern California in 2016. The album's explorative, freewheeling spirit is anchored by an often funky, rhythmic infectiousness as well as cerebral and ethereal qualities, all familiar to fans of his dreamy experimental rock band Here We Go Magic, without replicating it. For that matter, it's also reminiscent of some of Temple's solo output, which is merely to say that Blast Off does sound like Temple, though it avoids the folkier tendencies of records like Don't Act Like You Don't Care and 2016's A Hand Through the Cellar Door. Instead, Feynman opts for a mix of psych-pop, avant-prog, Krautrock, and West African music, to varying degrees depending on the track, and with a mini-cornucopia of other influences that quietly snake and trickle their way toward a hypnotic art pop. Recorded alone with a four-track tape recorder, it comes with a promise of no loops or drum machines, even on tracks like "Hot Night Jeremiah" and the instrumental "I Rain You Thunder," with their insistent polyrhythms and subtle movement through repetition. Catchier songs such as "Feeling Good About Feeling Good" and the moodier, syncopated "Can't Stand It" groove along nimble basslines and sophisticated percussion. (Oddly, they both also fade out on guitar solos.) Still making no play for the mainstream with Feynman, the project, like the moniker, seems to balance the art and science of music, with some typically (of Temple) compelling results.
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AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson