Peyote Road - (2008)
Peyote Road, Pocahaunted's second offering from the Woodsist/Fuck-It-Tapes camp compiles two funereal dirges, one from the studio, while the other is a vibey live cut from the bands spate of dates supporting Sonic Youth's rekindling of Daydream Nation last summer. The former, "Divine Flesh," begins with a dirty and thick guitar phrase that is repeated sludgefully through the duration of the song. The guitar work is embellished with some spry bongo work, what sounds like a sitar ringing sympathetically on the periphery, and eventually the snaking and syllabic vocal meandering's of Amanda and Bethany, the band's two core members. The B-side, "Heroic doses," is a more clouded, and less melodic affair, quite possibly a result of the live recording techniques employed. It comes across as a sort of subterranean fugue, with more circular dynamics, and less track separation. Peyote Road's pace is more contemplative than previous Pocahaunted releases and performances, erring on the side of mournfulness, and stopping well short of the ecstatic catharsis that put this LA band on the map this past year. This is not a bad thing however, as it lends a bit of space to the listener. Despite its density, there is a loamy and diffuse quality that makes what is ostensibly heavy music by virtue of its palette and repetition, somehow spacious and inhabitable. Call it the bearable lightness of Pocahaunted; eschewing black superlatives for a dark grey sonic tapestry. Further, as their name would indicate, there is an embedded playfulness in the bands approach that sets them apart from many other contemporary drone/psych outfits. The vocals, despite being darkly minor, have an oddly pre-pubescent bounce one might expect to hear coming from a 3rd grader discovering their goth proclivities, and we again mean that in a good way. Certainly anyone well familiar with the band will be exceedingly pleased with this offering, and anyone who has yet to tap into the Pocahaunted/Robedoor/NotNotFun locus would be doing themselves a favor by taking a dip in the pre-natal drone slurry that's been drifting up the coast for the last couple of years.