King Black Acid and the Womb Star Orchestra

Loves a Long Song

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Daniel Riddle's long-time band alter-ego reinvigorates the formula perfected on the first few King Black Acid efforts by restructuring and renaming the band lineup and by exploring, for the first time, a more structured songwriting process. Loves a Long Song is billed to King Black Acid and the Starseed Transmission, which is led by former Wombstar Orchestra (his previous collaborative band) drummer Scott Adamo. They released the Into the Sun EP a year previously as a warm-up, but Loves a Long Song is really the first band full-length, and a departure, in a sense. All of the hallmarks of the King Black Acid sound are in place: intertwining guitar melodies, hypnotic jams, luscious synth runs, and Riddle's husky, otherworldly vocals. But Riddle has also spiked his music for the first time with a distinctly pop reach. The first song, "Butterfly Bomb," is a good representation of the new slant of the band. It is insistent, heavy rock, on the one hand, with grinding guitars whisking the song away during the chorus, but melodically it is almost traditionally sunny West Coast pop, complete with a ba-ba-ba hook. Structurally, of course, it is psychedelia, filled with sweeping spaces in which futuristic keyboard and guitar lines dance and flirt with each other until the song, taken to the sonic brink like an acid-inclined My Bloody Valentine, implodes back to order. On the exquisite heartbreak ballad "Colorado (Wherever It Is You Are)," they take off into Floydian airspace and persuasively incorporate orchestration. Even with the discernible progressions in the band's sound, their music remains what it has always been: mind-altering, probing, filled with tension yet aggressively captivating. King Black Acid's take on the emotion ranges from the choked and smothering desire of "I've Heard You're Still Alive" to the unexpectedly yearning and optimistic "Into the Sun." Many of these songs would be strong even if abbreviated and stripped of their galactic atmospherics. And when the album ends with the drawn-out, but positively jaunty chorus of the near-soul "Gentle Collapse" ("if it feels good/then it's real love"), you can't help but feel uplifted, ready to hear a love song.

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