MUGSTAR (Lime) CD
In rescent times, Cosmic Lava has received a lot of good music from the UK, ranging from sludge and punk to heavy rock, and MUGSTAR are no exception. 'Lime' is their second full-length album in 2010, released by Important Records, and it's a truly captivating sonic journey. MUGSTAR has taken elements from bands as, for example, Neu!, Hawkwind, Pink Floyd or Sonic Youth and integrated them into their psychoactive heavy sound. A singer is not required, because this would only distract the listener from the music. In this context, the four tracks on 'Lime' are instrumental and range in length from 7:29 minutes to 13:17 minutes. Most tracks are based on simple steady-cruising grooves, often never breaking out of one main chord or basic line, but it's amazing what fascinating ear candy can be spun out of so simple an idea.
The album is at times hypnotic and nearly trancelike, with a pulsating and insistent bass and drum part atop where very spacey effects weave in and out to guarantee a more powerful effect on the listener. A notable example in this respect is of course 'Serra' that is thirteen minutes of pure joy. Even though it's all based around a throbbing bassline and a trancelike drumbeat, it's anything but monotonous: a clarinet explores myriad variations within that basic framework, never getting repetitive. An insistent drum beat propels things with a steadiness that could easily go on forever. Dreamy synths spin and whirl around the beat to produce an ever-shifting cloud of sound that's so honey-sweet, even ten minutes seems like a breeze. 'Beyond The Sun' explores the same idea at a more slow and sedate pace, hovering somewhere in limbo between mid-tempo and slow ballad.
With 'Radar King' and 'Sunburnt Impedance Machine', they reveal another side of their sound. The guitar plays a bigger role, without deviating from the basic trippy concept, but the arrangements are more diversified. For instance, the driving rhythm of 'Radar King' is overlaid with sound effects, and the tempo changes consistently throughout this track speeding up and slowing down in the middle. The atmosphere is significantly darker, just as with the opening track 'Sunburnt Impedance Machine'. Without a doubt, MUGSTAR have recorded a strong album that sounds less retro than anticipated. Furthermore, it is still very catchy and accessible, so that the listener does not get the impression to be an uninvented guest on a drugged-out hippie party. And with this kind of sonic bliss, who needs lyrics? That all said, if you're a fan of the bands I mentioned or, in general, a fan of lysergic space rock, buy 'Lime' because you will enjoy it.