ST 37

High and Inside

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ST 37 have long been their own self-contained high production unit -- like any number of fellow Texas bands with a psych bent, they never met a good sonic trip they didn't like, and High and Inside, initially self-released for sale at shows before a formal release later in 2010, finds the quartet still happily at it in the a new decade. (They certainly don't hide away from their home state's heritage, as the shaggy dog -- or shaggy bull, rather -- story "The Saga of Old Blue" happily demonstrates, a twangy voice telling the story through flange effects while the band moves from quietly grooving along into full-on acid funk.) Starting with the gently paced then loudly squalling "Maroons," High and Inside provides little in terms of aural surprise; this is a comfort zone they're in. Overdriven biker film rampages like "The White Comanche" and "Breaking Lines" rub up against moody, cryptic songs like "The Burgeoning" and "Borg9," the latter features the group at their most impenetrable, a rhythmic echoed clatter and laugh providing the bed for distant feedback growls and notes that sound like a haunted spaceship getting ready for docking. Demonstrations of their propensity for jams abound: "Grandpa's Birthday" is all shuffling drumming and exploratory feedback, all of which eventually concludes with a calm, contemplative ending, though the interruption halfway through by samples of ranting preachers and soothing advertisements makes it sound like it really wasn't the grooviest of celebrations, after all. Then there's "If You Feel You're Healed," ending the album with 15 minutes' worth of Pink Floyd on a really bad trip. Yet there's still a curve ball here and there: "Just You" is essentially a classic end-of-the-'50s tearjerker in style and approach, with maybe a little extra fuzz and soloing for kick.

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