The current trend of Spacemen 3/Spiritualized worship is intensely fucking gratifying to me. Sonic, Jason, and company were keyed into a primal, perfect strain of sound, and the more acolytes and followers they have, the happier and more peaceful we’ll all be. The newest batch of proselytizers is New York collective Himalaya, who combine a storm-in-heaven shoegaze roar with sweet, sad countrified rambles à la late period Mazzy Star and Mojave 3. Whereas the Spacemen were clearly in the thrall of gospel and free jazz, Himalaya are more indebted to the sun-baked country leanings of Gram Parson and CSN, just refracted through kaleidoscopic distortion pedals. There’s Slowdive, Stone Roses, and old Verve in there — free-floating clouds of cosmic bliss. Chiming, dusty acoustic guitars cut through bright-red swathes of phase distortion, androgynous (both boy AND girl) honey-slide-sweet vocals, flying saucer organs, and a rhythm section that comes on like an afternoon summer thunderstorm. Those layered vocals are a beautiful, beautiful thing.
If I have any beef with Himalaya, it’s that they don’t let themselves go off into the Interstellar Overdrive that they’re aiming for, so sometimes the music is all half-measures, not quite hazy country drone, not quite souvlaki spaceflight. It’s too light and alt-country, and they end up sounding like early Dandy Warhols. Don’t be timid. Cut the earthbound tether, and take flight.