Parastatic – Lost Highway

I like this release, it’s not all great and at times you do tend to wonder what on earth the band were thinking but that’s fair enough, you’ve got to follow your artistic instincts I suppose… And despite there being nothing over six minutes in length, the sound is sometimes treading prog territory, the sort of prog that hasn’t quite passed into the Canon of acceptable Music for the Youth of Today – some of it’s pretty squeaky clean, or Gong-tastic (never a bad thing with us – check out the guitar on 2 Glaxo Chem) but once you let the music get on with its job it’s an good listen.

The band boasts a charming sound; not too bombastic, or over fussy: quite delicate in parts and pretty high gloss in others. Spacemen 3 often spring to mind, especially Recurring era S3; it’s the keys on tracks like Like a Fraud that have a touch of Bright Lights Big City about them. The metronomic feel on the rhythm section also brings to mind the classic Düsseldorf bands like La Düsseldorf, 4A Düsseldorf and Neu!: at times you really can’t ignore this resemblance. When they wig out (Minimum Change Maximum Time or Darma) it’s in a precise way, taking care for the structure and tempo of their sound. The guitars on the up-tempo, poppy drone of Breaking Me Down definitely have something of Rother about them, or maybe those late Can records when Karoli was making everything sound clean and synthesized, whereas the synths on Where’s Your Base are also incredibly reminiscent of La! Neu?, or 4A Düsseldorf.

These old German bands shared a pretty formidable pop aesthetic, something which you can catch here too: maybe the strongest suit Parastatic have is their ability to conjure up a very effective melody without sounding gauche or lumpy – even when there’s a formidable riff that could dominate their sound (like the synth part on Lost) nothing is over-cooked. Their music is eminently hummable, and actually quite soulful: a sort of white bread, black beer soul is in tracks like Where’s Your Base and Breaking Me Down.

So, yes, interesting, enjoyable.