NOTE – Surf Aliens Must Die has been created by Steven for the purposes of this review. It breaks down a lil’ summin’ like this. Side One is Moonliner Vol. 1, Side Two is the newly released Moonliner Vol. 2.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in any kind of trouble, really, real trouble. But there’s always the legacy, that whole wall of vintage and that whole hard drive of stunning quality stretching back in time and in space, spanning 60 years and the globe. Rock and roll, the undeniable bible of bad, the walking, strutting monument to misbehaviour. And it ain’t ending! It’s still under construction like a needlessly elaborate cathedral, there are still bits of it being unearthed too, Pentagram only really came into existence recently; as well as all the smart and clever heads working all over the world under all imaginable conditions both spiritual and physical to make sounds. I’ve been really trying to dig around and come up with these contemporary heads because while I love taking you on my Raw Power trip, I figure you aren’t huge fans and would rather I led you to something new. And with that, let me take you on my little Brujas del Sol trip (that’s Witches of the Sun to you).
It’s always at night, and like a werewolf I take the thing out. It’s so fundamentally useful that I’ve been using it for workout-related mind-elevation, but recently there’s been more to it than that. Something of the night, of the werewolf imbibes these first two EPs. I noticed it on the first one and now I can appreciate both. While they are totally spiritually essential surf-rock to be used by astral surfers there is another aspect to them, and Orange amp-blowing volume lurking in the down-low bass rumble of these records. Something that can only be appreciated through a bassy stereo once the sun has set and the bats are out. I’ll take the things out, thinking only to give them a few spins to clear my head. Those few spins are like the tequila shot that starts the whole thing, there’s no going back. Something of the motion is in these records, a pace and a kinetic vibe so powerful it isn’t a minute before I’m still listening to the same songs while pounding the pavement as waves crash up by the sea wall. I want to stop, to rest, to walk, I don’t need to train more, but something won’t let me, something in the music. Legs pounding, screaming for rest. There isn’t any sense to it, there’s no rhyme or reasons or explanation to be had, just to give you a tour of this record in my trademark fashion, and there ain’t going to be any cooling it down around the bends.
Satanic Surf Girls Love to Dance claims the opener, though we’ve only the title to back that up. Side one is instrumental. It is a perfect place to start, so too is it a perfect place to finish and roll off each other sweating and appreciating what you’ve just done together with a smoke. It starts strong and doesn’t have any escalation. It’s a dreamliner surfing at the edge of space, that big panoramic front window looking out over the edge of the blue marble, and they’re serving cocktails. The guitar is leaning on the bar smirking at all the women with a hint of Stooge in his eye, and the drums aren’t far behind. It’s madness in any direction, barely contained drunken violence that could strike sparks at any second, and it continues for aaaaaages just smouldering on the edge of constraint like a drunk burning like incense. The spacey elements are right out of the Hawkwind playbook, give me a few more listens and I’ll be able to pinpoint which page. This is like if Silver Machine had been written while they were still deep in their acid phase and smeared that admittedly great song all over two sides of vinyl. AND THEN a minute and twenty seconds from the end, we were nearly out from under the awkwardness of these spectral drunks littering up our sky Titanic heading for blissful oblivion, and then there’s a drum roll and the whole thing takes on another edge, sharper and more practiced and it fades before we get to see what the newly awakened drunks are capable of. I’m sad really, I wanted it all to bleed together and continue rumbling indefinitely, a stable orbit.
Castles Upon Golden Gate is already threatening to take us to Frisco and I’m not sure I can handle it. These cats already have a tractor-beam locked on whatever it is that makes spacerock junkies tick and I’m not sure I can take them having a freehold on two genres I love. It opens gently, none of the leering power of Satanic Surf Girls Love to Dance; I sure hope this ain’t an acid rock masterpiece or I’mma be forced to burn most of my records. The instrumentation builds, slowly, hippies constructing a huge bonfire? Actually I’m reminded of the Growing Concern, except this ain’t just one guitar chord giving a whole group the right (and responsibility cause that shit was essential) to exist, no no no cats, this is the start of something real special. The power of track one wasn’t a flash in the spacial pan but the beginning of something wonderful. The guitar layers like cake, thick, stodgy sugary layers piled high and kept together with the bass which is like jam pouring out of the speakers and all over the floor. The drum track is like a single lunatic with a butterknife desperately trying to piece together this stuff as it pours out in industrial quantities. It’s surprising because despite minute-to-minute enjoyability the track doesn’t go anywhere (I mean, obviously it does, but it’s a bit like the Earth, hurtling through space at ten times the speed of a bullet and all of a sudden you realise it’s you whose standing on this vinyl and not noticing the turning because you’re so puny).
Longer tracks, more in your face. The space cruise just encountered some extraterrestrial life and things are gonna go all Geiger. Conquistadors gives us our first vocals. Playing out, smooth and dry like a desert under our spectral craft as we navigate a nebula like so much sand spread out across the cosmos. The guitar is back, thicker, heavier, more defined. A few times I’m braced for full on solo-ification but it never comes, we’re held Italian Job stylee in suspense. Instead what we get is riffage so solid you could launch a rocket off it. This is well spacey stuff guys, of the utmost spiritual usefulness, but only for those with true grit. Because this lady only comes out after the sun is down like a vampire. I suppose it just likes to be out amongst the stars. Which is where it drifts, seemingly forever in a wash of hazy guitar tones and muted lyrical beauty. Drifting in the warm sea, face up and gazing at the infinite black and the possibilities. The guitar, bass and vocals finish a minute before the slowcoach pounding the drums.
But he gets a head start on the next track and catches the guitar off-guard. It lurches lackadaisically into the song before yawning it’s protest and setting into the best groove on this record (and it had some competition). This is Baby Yaga, the closer. Running the closest to a surf pirate groove of anything on this album, gone is the desert sands, hello to the beach sands. We’re in Santa Monica on the first day of summer and we’ve got here early to take advantage of the waves... ‘cept we ain’t on earth, we’ve got the whole perfect alien planet to ourselves. The groove is the most consistent of any of these slabs of space dust as well, beautiful and never resting while the drums keep up the blistering pace. After a day in the sun it had to end with a barbeque bang and the guitar gains some muscle to pull a few stretches before the sundown and the record’s end. Everything sizzles to a close.
Moonliner Vol.2 is available for free, and you can pick up Vol. 1 for just five earth money, which considering you’re getting two sides here is a pretty sweet deal. Y’all better not be disappointed by this, it’s worth your every penny. I’ll be writing another one of these if more volumes are on the way, I don’t know if they are but I expect them anxiously. Gimme more o’ that goodness!
Get all Brujas del Sol have got to give from their Bandcamp page and then give 'em some love for it on their facebook.
Written under duress by Steven.