MARBLE SHEEP (Message From Oarfish) 2LP/CD
During the past years, I completely lost the overview about MARBLE SHEEP's huge discography, which includes thirteen albums as well as other releases, but I remember this Japanese band for their highly interesting heavy psych rock. 'Message from Oarfish' is the band's new album, which has been released 2007 by the German record label Fünfundvierzig. Again, this album shows, why MARBLE SHEEP still belong to the spearhead of the Japanese psych rock scene. Try to imagine Eternal Elysium without their Black Sabbath-influence and with softer vocals, then replace it with more elements from the late 60's and 70's. Than add a second drummer to the line-up and you my have a slight comparison to this album. 'Message from Oarfish' is filled with swirling guitar-noise and psychedelic feedback sounds, that are hold together from a pulsating bass and both drummers, which sometimes add some sort of tribal drumming to the wild guitars. All this have been intergrated into eight melodic cuts, which can be very long, but never become pointless. The basic structures of the songs are well-organized and MARBLE SHEEP have always some good melodies in store, although the group is mostly ready for explosive sonic outbursts. I can imagine, that they will do a lot of jamming on stage, because the songs are definitely made for that. It's no surprise, that they also like early Pink Floyd, The Stooges, MC5 and Velvet Underground, but they also draw influences from English 70's Punk Rock.
The album sounds fresh and organic, due to its tightness and untamed energy and a few of the songs are made to become anthems as for example 'Skull Cool'. In opposite to the wild spirit of the album, here's a song like 'It's time', which irritates the listener with a fast and mechanical drum-beat, that is the background for a few guitar tones and a mellow vocal-line. After that song, the band moves away from the sound of garage rock and more into an epic and slightly cheesy 70's epic pop-rock direction. For me it's a little bit too much of 70's aesthetics, so that 'Savior of street' is the only low point of this album. The last song 'From the centre' is an obscure combination of early Hawkwind and Guru Guru or Amon Düül. All the howling guitars are centered around a mid-tempo beat, which is sometimes accompanied by a few vocals and a melancholic guitar-theme. Some additional percussion are giving the song a more ritualistic character, but also a lot of other elements are making this song to a perfect ending for an interesting album. ‚Message from Oarfish' will definitely appeal to fans of psyched-out garage rock that is always good for an unexpected musical change. Not brilliant, but original and endearing.