Carlton Melton - Photos Of Photos
By: Rob Gannon
No-one truly believes the new-age West Coast lot died off, do they? Nowadays they’ve just morphed into Californian cosmic-psyche jammers like Carlton Melton, surely. Let’s check off the credentials: recorded in a geodesic dome, mastered by arch-stoner John McBain of Monster Magnet and rife with echoplex delay, Photos Of Photos is a timeless window to a sonic plain where tremulous mirages cozy up to acid-fried daydreams.
Now on their third album, the meditative three-piece thus offer few surprises but plenty of patient rewards. “Space Treader” is, for example, a 10+ minute slice of dreamy psyche of which state-mates and contemporaries White Manna would be proud. And while here classic guitar riffs emerge to punctuate the lab-grade hallucinogenic fuzz, those in the 12+ minute opener “Nor’Easter” reach out of the smothering drone like wailing angels – the remainder of the track alternating between third-eye enlightenment and suffocating space drones.
Either side of these red-eyed jams are outdoorsy projections of chilly synth and meandering keyboard that pulse with soundtrack appeal for moments of deep reflection. Filling out the running order on the CD and download versions only are two previously released edits – another 10-minute bong-athon in the shapeless form of “Smoke Drip” and all 22 minutes of the mind-melter “Adrift”, which the one sheet simply labels as “psychedelically-enhanced drone” – an exercise in on-the-money brevity that this reviewer can’t top in such an otherwise economically-devoid environment.
One day someone will again successfully record a psyche album that charts the darker side of narcotic flashbacks and it will be a doozy. Photos Of Photos isn’t that record, but it nevertheless houses a certain sprawling majesty and winning opulence that effortlessly blurs the themes of reality and dimension.
Advised downloads: “Nor’Easter”.
Photos Of Photos is released September 24th 2012 via Agitated.