It’s delightful to get to talk about a Romanian band doing such an amazing job. Last year I was positively conquered by the mighty White Walls, from Constanța, and The :Egocentrics sort-of slipped by me, because there’s only so much awesome one is prepared to deal with within the span of a few months. But this year is fresh and I’ve made the time to immerse myself in their debut album. I have to say, the power trio from Timișoara truly pack a punch – a velvety, smooth, grooved-out, tripping balls punch, apt to make your brain taste colors and hear scents.
Love Fear Choices and Astronauts offers a truly enjoyable classification challenge to the would-be reviewer. Sure, it’s stoner rock, that is to say, heavy, fuzzy guitars, down and dirty bass lines and pounding, preeminent percussion, but there’s a bit more to it than that. You see, The :Egocentrics are predominantly a jam band – these songs have that loose, elastic structure which comes from three people occasionally exchanging glances and provoking each-other to keep up, to match the beat and feel the flow. There’s a palpable feeling of communication and spontaneity between the band members, which does wonders to complement the organic sound they weave together. And that very sound seems to me to be a far cry from other stoner rock bands, no matter how iconic, like Kyuss for example. The music is a masterful blend of psychedelia, stoner rock and post-rock, picking the very best aspects of those genres and welding them together with the nonchalant, relaxed air of a teenage garage band.
It’s amazing how an album so distinctively analog-sounding can still feel like such a breath of fresh air, even though the techniques and sounds used throughout its span have been around since the late sixties, when Jimi Hendrix basically invented them. This is rock music in its most pure state of flux, music in the state of liquid tension which can simply sweep you away and scramble your senses and your perception of time. I guess they don’t call it stoner rock for nothing, do they? Listening to the absolutely blistering performance of the guitarist on this record, I’m thinking Jimi Hendrix would’ve been playing this too in 2010. It’s just staggering the way the man can make that guitar scream and wail in such a seemingly uncontrolled yet always calibrated way. There’s a very cool cadence to these songs, a marine ebb and flow, in a context which makes the sounds harsh and yet pleasing, the shifts in tempo pleasantly predictable, the spikes in intensity perfectly timed. It’s that vintage familiarity, like a fictionalized memory, that leathery scent, the growling fuzz effects and the patient, thumping bass which make this band paradoxically fresh and unique. I get the same feeling from Wolfmother, and damn if it isn’t satisfying to be able to claim the same quality and inspiration from a local band.
The :Egocentrics have released a follow-up album in 2011, called “Center of the cyclone”, so don’t be surprised if in the future I’ll be referring to that one, even though I haven’t heard it yet. I seriously doubt such an honest outfit, obviously having so much fun while creating these mighty sounds could undergo a shift in the wrong direction, and it’s that faith I have in them which probably speaks the most about how grounded and yet psychedelic their sound is. This music reminds me of that Buddhist saying I’m only going to paraphrase, which states that knowledge of the entire world can be obtained without leaving your room. Ground firmly beneath your feet, The :Egocentrics can still take you on a massively satisfying trip through the ether. The record is a palpable, swirling thing, catering to all senses at once to such an extent it’s hard to tell which of them is which, and yet never feels like an unpleasant, pretentious overload.
I hope you enjoy the vintage sound these guys have to offer, the plasticity of this music, its enthralling trajectory through the air of the room, leaving luminous trails at every corner, and the sheer generosity of it. See you soon!