Last Days of May

Last Days of May

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Given Karl Precoda's work in the early Dream Syndicate, it's no surprise to find him exploring more of the world of psychedelia and moody experimentation with the debut turn of his Last Days in May project. Where things have taken a newer turn is his embrace of what could be called Independent Project aesthetics, with the burnt reverb twang of groups like Scenic informing the smoky, stoned compositions the group creates here. Not desert/stoner rock in the post-Kyuss sense, though, it's less obsessed with the power of the almighty riff and more focused on echoed, shadowy work that suggests what the Doors could have done without any vocalist and using "Riders on the Storm" as a touchstone. Opening cut "Mercury Rising" is a great showcase for Precoda's abilities -- while his rhythm section of Thomas Howard and James Ralston tightens up the intensity or lets things sprawl as needed, Precoda pours on the sonic trips and effects pedal use and abuse. "Walking in Forever" is a quieter exploration if not necessarily a calmer one -- the pace is sometimes that of a lazy jam that's on the verge of becoming slightly bad blues, but its better moments have Precoda coming up with a slow and steady burn. The tune improves throughout to build to a fine, threatening ending that stretches out more and more without losing its intensity. The concluding "Sand, Sea and Space" is in contrast a much shorter number than either of the others, eight minutes worth of jamming that's not quite as gripping as the first two songs at their best but still continues and wraps up the overall atmosphere of the album on an enjoyable note.