Wow, Sub Pop still has some great bands on its roster! Just after hearing the very first track on Vague Premonition , I was happy to surmise that Elevator Through has graduated from the Astronomy Domine School of Psychedelic Lyric Writing. The spontaneity and rhythm of their lyrics seem heavily influenced by Syd Barrett’s of both his Pink Floyd and solo days. The group captures the essence of psychedelia without the phony posturing that often goes along with
it. Their music sounds contemporary, but at the same time, it could have easily been recorded in the late 60’s. The group combines the traditional, heavy/muddy sound of the great Northwest with the classic psychedelic sounds of early Pink Floyd and Spirit. They even do a great, heavy version of Syd Barrett’s “No Good Trying,” which expands on the tune while being respectful to the original — something bands rarely accomplish when doing a cover.
The first 5 or 6 songs really grabbed me, and just when I thought the album was starting to fizzle out a bit, I got hit with the innovative “Cut Out the Wick,” a real wonder of studio manipulation. The song starts out with some decent psychedelic folk that is soon attacked by all sorts of random studio tracks and noises that take the song through some dynamic transmutations. There really is not a bad song here, but I wish the group would play around with more experimental pieces like this. I’m not familiar with the other Elevator recordings, but the music on Vague Premonition is a big improvement over guitarist Rick White and drummer Mark Gaudet’s former band, Eric’s Trip.
Sub Pop Records, 1932 First Ave., Suite 1103, Seattle, WA 98101; http://www.subpop.com