Sri Aurobindo: Sri Aurobindo
When you name your band after a Hindu spiritual leader--one that ventured into writing about the future evolution of the human being/psyche--chances are high that your band isn't creating fey, chirpy pop songs or twee nonsense. This local, wooly-haired quartet plays unabashedly heavy psych, aiming for that outer space occupying the area between your ears. Its debut CD--limited to 199 copies in hand-silk-screened sleeves--delivers a half hour's worth of head massages over six tracks. Recording engineer Chris Freeland nicely captures the band's beefy bottom end--drummer Daniel Chenault and the shared bass or bass organ duties provide an emphatic oomph to Sri Aurobindo's smoky grooves, providing a suitable thickness for the band's beefy guitar swagger. On cuts such as "Vertical Electric," the bass provides the lumbering riff, freeing the guitar to jettison rhythmic duties in favor of fuzzy textures and trebly washes.
The lone complaint here is the band's fondness for a solid mid-tempo pace. The songs aren't all in the same meter, but they're close enough that they start to feel as if the music is always timed to the same stately clock. If you've caught the band live you know it can push and pull its tempos a tad, but with a little more sense of dynamics in its arrangements these tracks could approach Silberbart or Guru Guru levels of anarchic heaviness. Sri Aurobindo comes closest to such split-personality shifts in "Somersaults in Thoughts," a 6-minute-and-40-second odyssey that witnesses the group meandering around at its comfortable pace for nearly three minutes before erupting into an overcharged half minute and then calmly defrosting to an intravenous-drip's patience around minute five, where the band camps out in deep inner-space reflection for the song's duration.