Anywhere – AnywherePosted by Alexis Diltz
Anywhere doesn’t have just anyone in it. After pouring out the material for the self-titled seven-song album in only two days, Triclops! guitarist Christian Eric Beaulieu and The Mars Volta singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala assembled a psychedelic-progressive-rock dream-team to fill their newest project out. Joined by bassist Mike Watt, vocalist Rachel Fannan and guitarist Toshi Kasai, the group boasts a range of styles from acoustic to ambient. The band blossomed out of Beaulieu’s personal project Liquid Indian. His Bandcamp page description of “classical, cinema, eastern psychedelic, free improvisation, Ojibway and Hopi Medicine songs…” hints pretty strongly from where the roots of their raga stems. Healthy helpings of flamenco-style guitar and ethereal vocals stud the cast of instruments and cultural influences throughout Anywhere.
The first number, “Pyramid Mirrors,” opens the door to Anywhere’s genre blend with resolve. The song doesn’t try to misguide our listening expectations for the following six songs. Starting with an electronic flurry and muted drumming, “Pyramid Mirrors” layers in a relentless beat, a stately, steely guitar strumming and finally a reel of theatrical electric guitar. If it was an adventure movie soundtrack, the characters would probably be on a rescue mission in the middle of a jungle, hiding from outer-space aliens. Appropriately placed to carry out the traditional sci-fi juxtaposition, “Dead Golden West” shows a glimmer of country-cowboy with its moody and acoustic guitar. “Shaman Mantra” lives up to its name. The percussion punches up the energy of the otherwise mostly ethereal palette. Consistency is the name of the game – the vocals are all far-away, minor falsetto waves of often incomprehensible words.
However, the tortured sounding “Khamsin” and relatively pop-oriented song “Anywhere” break tradition by showcasing a little of the psychedelic punk influences seeping out from the vocal department. “Anywhere” has a refreshingly contrasting melodic-driven chorus. The song has suitably repetitive lyrics “I’m not anywhere/I’m not anywhere/I’m not anywhere” over the heavy guitar, which has a quality not unlike a vocal harmony. Ridden with complex drum and bass lines underneath, the song has a calm exterior. The second storm-like feature is the sudden shift to an aggressive beat. Similar flash changes are echoed in “Rosa Rugosa” and the final song “Infrared Moses,” which wraps up the album in all its acid and epic glory of fast tempos, minor notes, intense (sacrificial) drums and sudden starts and stops.
It may be a little long and a little winding, but Anywhere actually creates a path to a specific somewhere – a world of Eastern progressive rock. Though seemingly more focused on drama and playing the right cards to set the tone, rather than surprising the audience with magic tricks and unique details, the band does use their closely related experience to set a cohesive scene.