Saturday, 4 June 2011

No Man's Land - The Drowning Desert

The best thing about being asked to review releases for other sites is being sent albums by bands from all corners of the globe which would likely otherwise have remained undiscovered.

This album landed on my desk last week. No Man's Land are a Greek band who have issued four albums (could be wrong here - it's hard to find definitive info on this group!) since their debut Zalion in 1988. Atmospheric rock with a hint of psychedelia is their bag, and The Drowning Desert, released in 2010 continues in that vein. The main band, a guitar/bass/drums line up is here augmented by piano, cello, and some plaintive trombone, which features as the main lead instrument on some tracks giving the already organic sound a warm and emotional feel in a quite understated but accomplished fashion.

The Drowning Desert is more structured than some of their previous more psychedelically inclined works, but that's no bad thing. The rockiest thing here is the opener MS408 featuring a bubbling bass riff overlaid with some nice fuzzed sustain guitar and later the soon to be ubiquitous trumpet lines, leading straight into the title track which is taken at a slower pace than the intro, a nice contrast. Soon the trumpet gets to show its feelings with some fine blowing, then some nice wordless vocalising lending the song a kind of 60s B-movie feel, and ending with a squiggle of synth squeaks and more fuzz guitar. Very nice indeed!

Often a problem with some lesser known bands is vocals added as an after thought, along with hamfisted English lyrics from non-English speaking lyricists. No worries on that score here as the singer has a fine voice that puts me in mind of UK indie-goth bands from the 1980s for some reason and his English lyrics are fine considering the writer is putting his thoughts down in a secondary language. Pterodactyl Bones concludes the album with some fine trumpet blowing that I wish had gone on for longer than the tantalising short burst at the song's conclusion.

I wouldn't call this "prog" necessarily, neither is it fusion, or spacerock, but I can say it creates an complete atmosphere all its own and is well worth your attention.

The Drowning Desert seems to be a vinyl only release at present and is available here.

The band's myspace site has tracks from their other works including an 18 minute spacey wigout called "Writers Have No Real Life" that does not seem to be on any of their albums, and it's well worth checking out.

Bas Athanassiades - Vocals, Guitar, Analogue Synthesizer
Nick Petavrides - Bass
Chris Silver Triantafillopolous - Drums
Don Fuestenberg - Trumpet
Kostas Kakouris - Piano
George Tzivas - Percussion
Stavos Parginos - Cello
Kat Papachristou - Backing Vocals

3.5 out of 5

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