[sic] Magazine

Cobra Family Picnic – Magnetic Anomaly

The Cobra Family Picnic band may sound like a jolly for the Cabinet’s nearest and dearest by name, but their debut LP is about as kosmiche a rocker as you’re likely to ever encounter (of the third kind) on record. Back in 2015, these Tucson hombres – equally of local psych ensembles The Desert Beats, The Night Collectors, and Wight Lhite – laid Magnetic Anomaly’s launchpad with a tell-tale EP of rhythmic space-rock, one track from which again here makes the grade, and now blast skywards with seven new tracks alongside it built of kraut-fuzz, repeato grooves and a three-part “Interplanetary Travel” series that gets kinda abstract with cross-channel chatter, mind-bending drones and multi-dimensional drums.

A countdown sequence taken from NASA tapes propels the early running-order forward to “Elysium” and its freak-out finale, Randall Demsey‘s kaleidoscopic vocals echoed out like the sonic equivalent of a hall of mirrors throughout. The thrusters drop off just as the capsule hits weightlessness on “IPT011”, synth-drift tuning directly into free-falling mechanics. The serenity is only fleeting, however, as the motorik-heavy “Frost” then picks a careful course through a searing meteor shower, the zen centre of which is seemingly presided over by some immortal Jim Morrison creator. On the flip, on “Gilgamesh” – originally from the aptly titled Music For Lava Lamps EP – guitars are rendered liquid by outer-rings physics and some truly out-there organ. And, finally, and perhaps tellingly, the clouds clear long enough back on planet Earth during the lonely closer “Moody Mountain” to gaze back down on the desert towns of Arizona from above, bloodshot guitars slow-building to reflect back the infinitely starry skies above. Maybe these alien star gazers are the lovelorn family sorts after all, outlying anomalies that would like nothing more than join the trend.

Also taken from the debut EP, download versions come with a remarkable 9-minute cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s retro-futurist oddity “Contact”, krautrock reduced to menacing metronomes and single-word choruses repeated ad infinitum.

Best track: “Gilgamesh”

~Magnetic Anomaly is released on cassette, CD and limited blue/lilac recycled vinyl May 22nd 2017 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Sky Lantern Records.~