The Volta Sound

This Is the Yin and the Yang

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Saying the Volta Sound really like Spacemen 3 is a bit like saying that the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club enjoy the Jesus and Mary Chain and Love and Rockets, or that the Strokes really don't mind that they're a Television band. It's an accurate enough assessment of inspirations and lodestones, but it doesn't really say whether or not the end result is worth it. In this case, while the Volta Sound already have a few woodshedding releases behind them, This is the Yin and the Yang veers from amiable time-killing to inspired touches throughout its length, all while staying in one general mode. Certainly opener "Gracious Guru" sets the narcotic tone -- soft shuffling drums and moody bass, psychedelic haze guitars, and purring vocals; and that does pretty much set the tone for the rest of the disc, so those listeners already well-disposed to such things will either gobble it up like candy or stick with the sources of inspiration. Most of the album is pretty much of a similarly hazy late-night oil-wheel-projection head-nodding piece, tunes blending into each other easily (perhaps all too easily), and songs like "The Ride" and the fragile title track are both enjoyable, and utterly without surprise. That said, total newcomers to the approach could easily find enjoyment with songs like "Take Yer Sweet Time," which pumps up the celebratory energy level a bit, and the slow build and burning rise of "Girl Again," a welcome tweaking of dynamics on a fairly restrained album. They also get credit for having a bit of irreverence with the whole approach -- if a song title like "She Gets Me High" is to be expected, "That Timothy Leary Shit" isn't (and then lives up to things by being the best instrumental on the disc, with a particularly freaked-out guitar solo).

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