[sic] Magazine

Old Testament – Old Testament

When you think of the Old Testament you think of solemn tales torn from antiquity. LA quintet Old Testament are fronted by Dead Meadow man Jason Simon and he and his band of desperados indeed sound like they’ve stumbled in from the trippiest corners of the grand old tome. And, stripped of Dead Meadow’s oppressive rock, their debut is an outlet for windblow Americana and gently psychedelic takes on classic country.

The wide open spaces of Simon’s desert are filled accordingly with speaker-blown harmonica and dense harmonium drone, the 9-minute “Now As In Ancient Times” feeling infinitely mystic as its tantric drums bubble away hypnotically to a chorus of braying effects. It feels like a rite of passage: penetrate the smoke, survive the peyote and you’re in the club.

As with inititaions of this sort the reality is often less fierce, much of Old Testament taking a more porch-dwelling stance, that harmonica quiver coming over all trainlike and cuts like the toe-tapping “Dallas” rolling along like moonshine-oiled ranchers, others taking on a spit-and-sawdust stomp. Traditional roots permeate throughout and they culminate in “Movin’ On”, skeletal doo wop-surf that moseys on by sleepily.

Thanks to achingly melancholy harp, the druggy “Trip Light” is much more solid, ponderous guitar picked out over pedal fuzz, dark sunglasses hiding bloodshot blues. The stifling “Let Me In” then shuffles along on high-and-lonesome acoustic progressions very much like Spiritualized’s underrated Songs In A&E. The acid-scrubbed closer, “Time To Rest”, on the other hand is less Old Testament are more generically olde worlde, its organ wheezing like a abandoned merry-go-round.

Old Testament is a bit of surprise, both Simon and indeed the Cardinal Fuzz label pulling a hard turn off into uncharted territory with its release. Of course, once you’re free from expectation, nothing between you and the horizon, a person changes. We’re not saying Simon has found God out there in the wilderness, but no doubt he has found a rather singular side of himself when standing at some dust-swept crossroads. Old Testament is his bible. Hear him preach.

Best track: “Trip Light”

~Old Testament is released 27th October 2014 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Evil Hoodoo.~