The City That Always Sleeps

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The sophomore full-length from the Toronto-based heavy psych-rockers, The City That Always Sleeps is also Biblical's first outing for N.Y.C. indie Tee Pee Records, home of like-minded purveyors of cosmic might Graveyard, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Earthless, and High on Fire. Employing elements of hard rock, shoegaze, stoner metal, and Hawkwind-esque space rock, the eight-track set delivers both atmosphere and power, splitting the difference between the intricate, reverb-drenched spellcasting of the Sadies and the bottom-heavy propulsion of Mastodon. Opener "Mature Themes" rolls in on a Lynchian, Twin Peaks Roadhouse-worthy whammy bar bend, before launching into a beefy shock wave of riffage, howling, and arpeggiated synths. Elsewhere, the largely instrumental "The Last Thing I Remember," with its hypnotic harmonies and decadent guitar noodling, deserves its own laser light show, as does the mesmeric Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips-inspired "Fugue State." There's a definite undercurrent of Dark Side of the Moon-period Pink Floyd at work here, especially on the LP's more exploratory pieces -- bassist/vocalist Nick Sewell can sound a lot like David Gilmour, and the inaugural moments of "Spiral Staircase" flirt unabashedly with Dark Side's "The Great Gig in the Sky." That said, the band's retro leanings never feel weighed down by the iron collar of nostalgia. There's a vitality coursing through the set that suggests Biblical would feel just as comfortable on an LED light stick-strewn festival stage as they would staring at their feet in a smoke-filled stadium in the 1970s.

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