Following on from the critically acclaimed and wonderfully titled ‘Astronomy for Dogs’, The Aliens set their stall out on Luna right from the outset.
Opener ‘Bobby’s Song’ is a 10 minute, multi-layered psychedelic journey with a big nod to early Pink Floyd. ‘Theremin’ and ‘Everyone’ sound like vintage Beach Boys crossed with The Beta Band at their very best. ‘Boats’ is classic After the Gold Rush Neil Young.
At well over an hour long, the album is overflowing with ideas and ambition, the antithesis of the typical, generic 40 minute glossy modern rock album.
That said, tighter quality control could’ve turned it in to one of the very best albums of the year, instead of one of the most interesting. It is occasionally overly whimsical and unfocussed. Cut out the plodding prog-rock (‘Dove Returning’) and the worst of the 60’s excesses (‘Smoggy Bog’) and you would have the makings of a truly classic album.
Given the history of Gordon Anderson and the lyrical references to fragile and altered mental conditions, it’s tempting to see this as a post-recovery album (‘I’m waking up love’ on the simply gorgeous final track ‘Blue Mantel’) but it would be more accurate to see this as an album that could’ve only been made by someone who has gone right to the edge and managed to pull back.
It’s good to know that there are still bands out there who are happy to sit firmly outside of the mainstream and plough their own furrow, completely oblivious to musical fashion or trends. This is an album to live with and return to, holding the torch for the long-lost art of the album as a collection of free-flowing, disparate ideas and styles.
The right of this band to have their music piped directly to the nation should be enshrined by parliament.