"Stop, man, I can't take your machinatons, just let me get blown outta ma skull!" - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #88

(Or:- Drop me some of that Mainliner Sonic, I need to get haaai!)
(Or:- A love letter suitable for publication.)

I ought to be frank, because I haven’t a lot of time, not the best pen either and really it’s the only thing I should ever be anyway. I am so pathetic, I haven’t spoken to you in two days and already I feel down. I’ve concluded that wine makes me mean and cider makes me really drunk, all of it makes me think of you all the more. I’m writing twisted stories while I’m here and I’m listening to a lot of love songs, but I’m always with you. Another thing I can’t seem to do without is Mainliner’s half-our work of utter genius drum based humdrumdrumdrum riffappolooza Mainliner Sonic. When High Rise dropped Speed Free Sonic, I doubt they realised Mainliner would be dropping an album that would have been better named Speed-ful Sonic. Certainly there were more than a few bennys dropped into this cauldron if the sound is to be believed, and it almost can’t; rough like sandpaper, heavy like a mountain but tissue paper thin strung out on poor-quality production with bicarbonate of soda crusted round both nostrils but piercing eyes burning holes in the back of yer skull. This is the only shoegaze album that isn’t fucked up by a thousand yard stare, and be sure it is shoegaze, shoes are the only places you can look when you’re flurrying away at the strings like a dope-fiend in need of a vicious fix late on a Saturday night and the sound coming outta the speakers is like a hundredhead of stallions stampeding through a Vietnam war tableau.

The only other Mainliner album I’ve got is the follow-up, Mellow Out, which I used to think was pretty intense until I got ahold of Mainliner Sonic, now I realise that was these japcats on half-speed, after the bennys had worn off compared to the free-psychedelic sonic avalanches unleashed for the entire duration of every cut of this LP. There’s a brief contact period between the garage riffs of someone like the MC5 before we leap aboard the Mainliner flight, flightplan: non-existent. Those familiar garge riffs get torn up all to hell by production, the sheer size and volume of the whole outfit and the crazed acid flux fitted over every riff. Just as it’s clear that High Rise are in love with Blue Cheer and Sabbath, it’s the Detroit garage that’s getting put through the ringer on this trip. There are a lot of similarities between these two Japanese freakouts; both feature insane production and guitar tone and move at a million miles an hour, both are helmed by the same man, Japanese psyche cornerstone and mainstay Asahito Nanjo; but whatever semblance of control is present in the music of High Rise (except Live, which is just astonishingly freaky) is totally gone here; Nanjo has absolutely no control over what goes on across this record’s half-hour runtime and seems to willingly take his hands off the reigns, not that this feels improv… the first song/riff feels rehearsed up the arse and tightly controlled, but in the way a junkie keeps control by dropping some bennys to keep his smack trip falling too far off the wagon. It seems to be intention that is keeping these guys from falling endless miles into psychedelic jamming (side not- y’ heard the Radio Moscow jam with Prisma Circus? In its own way excellent but that’s what I’m afraid of with seriously out-there bands, self-indulgence) is sheer determined battle/live trained desire to blow heads with a series of carefully crafted freakouts and bespoke blitz bombings and a concentrated sonic campaign of shock and awe to in just a short time bring y’ to yer knees.

Image c/o Wine, Women and Song
It’s weird to listen to music of such aural and emotional intensity and be thinking of you, but I am. It’s a cliché but sometimes it takes being separated from something to realise how much you cherish it, and being away from you for a few weeks is harder than I figured. I feel ashamed and relieved equally in how much I have come to depend on you, practically and as an emotional constant in my otherwise turbulent life. I’m writing this Tuesday afternoon as pissing rain rolls down the windows and Mainliner are cooking up something that smells of burnt meat in the kitchen, I daren’t look what. I’ll be back with you by Thursday afternoon. Don’t mistake this for pining, but by taking a step back I’ve been able to get perspective on things in my life and you’re the biggest thing in my life. I’m in the Highlands right now though, and it’s Mainliner’s riffs that are mountainous!

Written under duress by Steven.

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