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NAAM (The Ballad Of Starchild) 12"/MCD

What a pleasant surprise! After the average but promising debut of Naam in 2009, with some nice heavy 70's/Doom songs, but also a lot of fillers and some boring parts, the guys from Brooklyn took three years to bring on the new EP and to work out their style. Where the debut was more heavy and doomy, 'The Balld of the Starchild' is much more Krautrock and Psychedelic influenced. It's still easy to hear which band is playing, but the sometimes very noisy parts changed to clearer melodies and got a huge 70's psychedelic vibe.

The EP starts off with acoustic guitars which are introducing the first highlight, 'Sentry of Skies', a brilliant Krautrock song with increasing intensity, which smoothly gets you to the second track 'Lands Unknown”, which also favors the mentioned style but reminds me a bit on the sound of the debut, so I declare it as the weakest of the three real songs of the output. These two are followed by the first of two songs on this EP, that I would dare to call fillers, 'History's Son' and later on the 'Exit Theme'. The first one uses simple drum beats and sitar sounds, classic psychedelic stuff in form of a two minute instrumental track, the latter just fades the EP out with electronic sounds and a piano, also just instrumental. Both aren't bad stuff, but the question is, if one needs these kind of fillers on a 26 minutes long EP?

Nevertheless, these two songs frame the title song 'The Starchild' which is definitely worth waiting! Starting with classic Kraut and psychedelic themes, the over 10 minutes long hymn varies a lot between slow and drugged parts and riff and drums driven frenzy in the end. All in all a masterpiece! Even if there's light and dark on this EP, just 'Sentry of Skies' and 'The Starchild' justify the purchase of this one. Psych-rock is seldom played better nowadays, Naam are taking the atmosphere of 70's psych, but never loose the ability to put some serious rock into their compositions, like so many other psych bands tend to fail these days.

(Thomas Braun)