45 years after Vincebus Eruptum, Wahzoo Wah lives! - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #147

This week was the 45th anniversary of the release of Blue Cheer’s Vincebus Eruptum (we overcome by spewing forth), that essential one-tone tome that came out of left field and knocked heavy-heads sideways with pre-Sabbathean yawp for so long it would be years before it was bettered. If you don’t have some sort of copy of Blue Cheer’s pre-second side of Outsideinside work, go out and find it. They did some super-hissy killer work in 1967 on some rare recordings that are emerging onto the internet, which I’ll advise might be even cooler than Vincebus Eruptum. But if you’ve heard Blue Cheer, y’all know it’s sonic necessity and the eternal cure for what ails us and y’ are on the right track. If you aren’t on the Blue Cheer wagon as yet and have ever stopped to pensively consider from whence sprang our current Melvinite post-Sabbathean mung worshipfulness, look no further kaddies. Salvation is at hand.

In light of such a momentous occasion in the early days of a better world, it seems appropriate to kick off what will be a January fraught with revisits of everything from 2012 re-absorbed into the national consciousness and a right-on full-headed cloud of astral gas and colour out of space fest of post-Cheerisms of high-hiss guitar wail barely contained within the spinning blackness of a record is in order. To that end: The Modulated Tones. The Modulated Tones took the initiative and contacted me, sharing their fine record with us all for free and y’all can get it for free too. Their debut record is by turns blissful and driving. On one hand a monged-out buzzfest floating like petals on a calm river, drifting slowly and undecidedly towards a final conclusion, on the other hand it’s beat-driven full-on fuckery with Tom Rothrock in its sights. Fuzzball rock and roll energy of righteous indignation. It’s different kiddies, y’know what I mean? I suppose not. It’s the sound of pounding in the streets. Of the righteous energy that’s taken hold in this foul year of our lord twenty hundred and twelve, where people have independently stood up and said enough is enough. There’s change on the horizon and it’s people power surging up once again to seize hold of the cultural steering wheel. The soundtrack will be, even though we may not know it, epic thirteen minute psyche-dirge like the colossal concluder Convergence. Individual discernible moments are lost in the endless psychedelic haze, where a single overwhelming wave engulfs band and listener in turbulent bliss.

Relying on entirely antiquated means of sound delivery, arcane amps and the services of a 67 Fender Bassman and a 72 Fender Vibrolux with original tremolo. They even name their effects pedals, look out for ‘sonic boom’, ‘acid fuzz’ and ‘wahzoo wah’. The effect of all of this is neck-snapping switches in tone akin to a full 180 at speed and total absorption, like being in an airlock in a submarine; filling up with fuzz, not water. The immersion in full-on yawp is utter. Who are these people? The Modulated Tones? Like caricatures of Lou Reed c.1965 freewheeling around the Factory. And what of the music? A fully switched-on high-power burn through soul, fuzz, wah, punching right though shoegaze at record speed, and coming to a wheezing stop with smoking brake pads at a rest stop marked ‘psychedelia’. And there they plant themselves, while the motor ticks itself cool. I’d recommend almost everyone buy this album, it is all things to all people. So what if it gets a little heavy for some? So what if the more induced psyche is a bit much? It all resolves nicely. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Written under duress by Steven.

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