Levitation Room


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After debuting with Ethos, an album that sounded like it could have been released in 1966 to minor acclaim, Levitation Room return with a record that maintains their note-perfect, backward-looking sound but adds some new wrinkles. This time around, they aren't stuck in one particular year or style and this looseness gives them room to explore. Some of these journeys lead to winning results; some of them don't work quite as well. Looking at the positives first, there are several tracks that capture the strutting swagger of Ethos and deliver similarly fuzzy garage feelings. "2025" lets guitarist Gabe Fernandez take off in flights of fuzztone frenzy while singer Julian Porte sneers mightily, "Forever Tomorrow" matches snarling psych with almost fragile folk-rock, and "Mr. Polydactyl Cat" gets happily, trippily weird around the edges. There are also some new sounds that flow naturally from what the band were doing before, like the rumbling San Francisco groove of "What You See" or the jazz-psych wanderings of "Headspace," where Fernandez rips fierce solos over pianist Glen Brigman's blocky chords and tinkling runs. It's like they jumped forward a couple of years on these tracks and that makes sense. The part that's a bit of a stretch is when they move into soul music pastiches ("Ooh Child"), soft rock balladry ("Stars Speak Softly"), and Southern boogie that sounds like a baby Black Crowes ("Here Comes the Man"). It's not that the band do these things poorly, it's more that they didn't need to expand over such a wide territory when they did the garage rock-meets-psychedelia revival thing so well. They could have cranked out a few more albums as tightly focused as Ethos and that definitely wouldn't have been a bad thing. Still, their artistic growth is a worthwhile endeavor and Headspace is worth checking out, though it might only be good for a spin or two instead of the frequent listens that Ethos inspired.

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